the ‘tsinghua ocean center’ in shenzhen, china, is the final building to be constructed as part of the tsinghua graduate campus. dedicated to deep ocean research, the newly established facility has been completed by OPEN architecture with a design that aims to restore active participation in campus life, better teacher and student relationships, and an overall welcoming attitude.

OPEN architecture ocean center tsinghua university shenzhen designboom
the tsinghua ocean center is a laboratory and office building for the newly established deep-ocean research base
image © iwan baan

 

 

OPEN architecture’s scheme starts with creating a multiplicity of public spaces around and within the building. the conventional quad program for university campuses is re-interpreted to form a lively vertical system at the front with architectural language influenced by shenzhen’s local climate. the abundance of semi-outdoor spaces regulates the micro-climate of the building, while the thin-slab typology maximizes the potential of natural ventilation. at the same time, protruding and extruding volumes are integrated with exterior shading to cut down heat gain.

OPEN architecture ocean center tsinghua university shenzhen designboom
a deep-sea research tank is hidden underneath the entry plaza
image © iwan baan

 

 

the different research centers have been planned with a semi-autonomous yet independent relationship. the conference room, brain-storming area, exhibition space, study rooms, cafés and other facilities are all located in the shared levels of the building. the circulation staircases weave and intersect through the horizontal and vertical spaces, which form the labs and offices.

OPEN architecture ocean center tsinghua university shenzhen designboom
the conventional quad typology for university campuses has been re-interpreted
image © iwan baan

 

 

at the top, the design features a roof garden that offers a quiet space for contemplation, views of the surroundings and also a small open-air theater. the underground level has been used as a deep-sea research tank — described by the architects as the most unique lab in the center. the space is hidden beneath the entry plaza and is illuminated by the three concrete cone skylights.

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
the intersecting blocks and geometric nature of the center subtly reference the ocean
image left © zhang chao / image right © iwan baan

 

 

themes taken from the ocean have been translated into the architecture. the round windows on the concrete walls of the meeting rooms recall the portholes of ships, while the brise-soleil on the façade is organized according to the sheet music from ‘ocean’ by the composer debussy. to represent the constantly changing tones of the sea, the blue soffit colors of the public floors gradually change from darker to lighter as the building increases in height.

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
instead of terminating the campus’ main axis on the plan, the building folds the axis to extend upwards
image © iwan baan

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
within each research center, the labs and offices are separated by a vertical gap
image © iwan baan

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
the rooftop garden features a small auditorium
image © iwan baan

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
representing the sea’s constantly changing tones, the blue soffit colors of the public floors gradually change
image © iwan baan

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
an entrance illuminated at dusk
image © zhang chao

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
round windows on the concrete walls of the meeting rooms are similar to ones found on ships
image © zhang chao

open-architecture-tsinghua-ocean-center-shenzhen-china-designboom-03
the architectural language of the building was developed out of the local climate of shenzhen
image © zhang chao

 

 

project info:

 

design year: 2011 – 2016
status: built
client: tsinghua university graduate school in shenzhen
program: research labs and offices, conference room, library, classrooms, lounges, café
building area: 15,884 sqm
land area: 2,439 sqm
location: shenzhen
principal in charge: li hu, huang wenjing
project team: victor quiros, zhao yao, zhang hanyang, zhou tingting, yan dihua, zhou xiaochen, qiao shawei, zhang chang, qi zhengdong, joshua parker, chen chen, laurence chan, jin boan

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    architecture news