Create a long, thin skyscraper, make it green and gorgeous, and then turn it on its side. That was the thinking behind Steven Holl's recently completed Vanke Center in China. Not only is the mixed-use building green, diverse, and tsunami-proof -- it's also in the running for LEED Platinum certification.
Steven Holl‘s well-known design aesthetic and green credentials have made him a favorite here at Inhabitat. His latest project was conceived as a new headquarters for Shenzen Vanke Real Estate that will house everything from office spaces and a conference center to apartments, a hotel, and even a spa. While initially the program called for a number of smaller structures, each with their own program, Steven and his team decided to create one large superstructure propped up on eight legs.
The 1,296,456 square-foot building is less than 35 meters high. Lengthwise though, the building is a long as the Empire State Building is tall — a distance of about 440 meters. Underneath the horizontal skyscraper is a landscaped area with a number of water features which give the impression that the building is floating on water. The different programs are connected by a public path that cuts across the landscaped gardens, which were inspired by Roberto Burle Marx‘s work. Thanks to its elevated structure, the project is able to give back a public space to the city.
The complex’ green features include car parking spaces for electric vehicles with built-in charging stations. Additionally, The doors, floors, and furniture are made from bamboo, and the carpets are composed of recycled material. High-performance glazing has been installed in the building’s facade, while solar panels will provide 15% of the office’s electricity. All of these combined features are elevating the building towards LEED Platinum status. The horizontal skyscraper’s sophisticated elevated structure also functions to protect it from damage in the event of a tsunami. The project has received a 2010 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.