The headquarters of the Alibaba Company, designed by Hassell Architects, is a striking campus-style complex that showcases sustainable building strategies in Hangzhou, China. Based on the concept of interconnectedness, the buildings are linked by an ornate latticed roof that wraps around their exterior and serves as a sun shade.
Alibaba is one of the world’s leading e-commerce companies, controlling online shopping sites for both the Chinese and international market. Internally, they put a strong emphasis on community and connectivity with their employees, and thus the headquarters was designed with these key principles in mind.
Employee morale and happiness was of utmost importance, so the buildings, called “neighborhoods,” are built around a centrally located common, to encourage employee socializing, lounging, and relaxation. Each structure varies in height, and is situated in a way that creates open spaces as well as private garden areas. The buildings are designed to cast shade in addition to the placement of giant shades inspired by Chinese window screens, which cool areas inside and out, reducing the need for air conditioning.
The walkways throughout the complex are lined with vertical stripes, which strengthen the sense of connectivity, as one courtyard leads to the next. Each building, inside and out, was designed to maximize natural light and airflow to each and every employee’s work area. Alibaba’s 9,000 employees now call the 150,000 square meters “home.”