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CCTV, OMA, china central television, rem koolhaas, eco tower, china, energy efficient design
Image ©Iwan Baan

Construction on the CCTV headquarters began back in 2004, but the frame caught fire in 2009 causing a major setback. The media conglomerate expects to move into the tower where all of their offices will be under one roof later this summer. Rather than build a sky-high tower, Rem Koolhaas and OMA decided to design for connectivity rather than height so the tower folds in half. One tower provides space for production and broadcasting, while the other is used for services, research and education. The two meet in the middle at a slight cant and the design is a representation of how two sides of the business have different roles but work together for one goal.

This is OMA’s largest project to date and with something this big, we were certain that green design and sustainability had to be included. As one might expect, energy use for a TV and broadcasting company is high, so to keep it down, the building makes use of energy-efficient climate control systems. In the winter, direct cold air from outside is used to keep production spaces cool and in the summer a chilled water/ice storage system is used. Heating and steam requirements are met from the citywide supply, potentially reducing carbon output per kW of heat output.

The building’s envelope was carefully designed to make use of natural daylighting, provide a high thermal insulation and protect from overheating and glare. The geometry of the building works to shade a large portion of the facade. Finally, the large landscaped area underneath the tower creates a welcoming and cooling microclimate, which also works to absorb stormwater and clean the air. An area wide grey water distribution network is used for toilet flushing and cooling tower make up. Finally, the interior materials are non-toxic, and the main part of the materials was domestically produced.

Images ©Iwan Baan, Phillipe Ruault, Jim Gourley, Ou Qiang and OMA