Foster + Partners tops out China Merchants Bank skyscraper in Shenzhen


The China Merchants Bank Headquarters by British architecture studio Foster + Partners has topped out in Shenzhen, with progress on a decorative ribbed steel and glass facade.

Images of the skyscraper’s construction progress show the height of its structural core and facades made from steel and triangular glass panels taking shape around it.

Skyscraper in Shenzhen by Foster + Partners
The China Merchants Bank Headquarters has topped out in Shenzhen

Once complete, the upper portion of the building will have a staggered shape topped with landscaped terraces.

The north-facing facade will have a simple rectilinear form, while the south facade will feature rounded vertical sections covered in geometric glass panels, informed by shapes in traditional Chinese paper folding.

Curved vertical facade elements with triangular windows
A ribbed facade made up of triangular glazing is taking shape

According to Foster + Partners head of studio Grant Brooker, the rounded facade details were designed to enhance the building’s views of Shenzhen Bay.

“The building’s wide curved windows offer spectacular views of Shenzhen Bay,” he said. “Cut to reflect the light, they glisten in the sun and reflect movement in the sky above them.”

“We want to capture the warmth of sunrise and sunset on the building’s surface so that the appearance of the tower is constantly changing and never appears the same way twice,” he continued.

Foster + Partners developed the decorative steel and glass facade through an iterative modelling process, factoring in passive systems such as natural lighting, solar shading, and thermal loads to minimise the reliance on active systems.

This, along with other passive lighting and ventilation strategies, was designed to create comfortable interior environments for those working in the building.

The studio also designed double-height atriums and landscaped terraces to provide breakout space connected to the offices.

China Merchants Bank Headquarters by Foster + Partners
The China Merchants Bank Headquarters will form part of a new development in Shenzhen

“Optimal working conditions are achieved through low emission materials, effective temperature and humidity control, and glare mitigation,” said Foster + Partners.

“Coupling the off-centre core layout with a unique natural ventilation detail in the column profiles allows for natural ventilation on all levels,” it continued. “This high-quality indoor environment enhances staff wellbeing and improves productivity.”

China Merchants Bank Headquarters in Shenzhen by Foster + Partners
Renders reveal the skyscraper will have a stepped upper portion. Image by Foster + Partners

The China Merchants Bank Headquarters will form part of a wider development in Shenzhen Bay that is currently under construction.

A central axis will connect the skyscraper to a public park, and two plazas on either side will be surrounded by shops and restaurants.

Other skyscrapers designed by Foster + Partners include an office tower in Hollywood wrapped with spiralling terraces and a pair of residential skyscrapers in Dubai overlooking the bay.

The photography is by Zhang Chao unless stated.



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