BIG's shenzhen energy mansion is a 'subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper'

BIG's shenzhen energy mansion is a 'subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper'

bjarke ingels group (BIG) has completed a skyscraper in china that features an undulating building envelope. located on a prominent plot in central shenzhen, the development comprises two towers, which top out at 220 and 120 meters respectively. these high-rise structures are connected with a 34-meter-tall podium that houses the main lobbies, a conference center, a cafeteria, and exhibition space. as an ensemble, the development forms the ‘shenzhen energy mansion’.

the skyscraper features an undulating building envelope
image by laurian ghinitoiu (also main image)



working alongside arup and transsolar, BIG won the competition to complete the project in 2009, with construction getting underway in 2012. the 96,000 square meter office building has been completed for the state-owned shenzhen energy company, and is designed to look and feel at home in the city’s cultural, political and business center. perhaps most importantly, the building’s skin has been developed to maximize sustainable performance and workplace comfort in china’s local subtropical climate.

the development is located on a prominent plot in central shenzhen
image by chao zhang



‘shenzhen energy mansion is our first realized example of ‘engineering without engines’ — the idea that we can engineer the dependence on machinery out of our buildings and let architecture fulfill the performance,’ explains bjarke ingels. ‘shenzhen energy mansion appears as a subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper and exploits the building’s interface with the external elements: sun, daylight, humidity and wind to create maximum comfort and quality inside. a natural evolution that looks different because it performs differently.’

the project takes on different appearances, depending on where it is viewed from
image by chao zhang



standing in contrast to traditional glass curtain walls, the distinctive undulating envelope creates a rippled skin around both towers. in order to reduce solar loads and glare, the envelope has been manipulated in order to provide high-insulation while blocking out direct sunlight. consequently, the façade responds to the sun’s movement by maximizing north-facing openings for natural light and views, while minimizing exposure elsewhere.

the building skin has been developed to maximize sustainable performance
image by chao zhang



at street level, a series of openings allows visitors to enter commercial spaces, while workers enter via the front plaza into a daylight-filled lobby. offices for shenzhen energy company are placed on the highest floors, while the remaining levels offer rentable office space. enhanced views are provided where the façade protrudes, with large spaces containing meeting rooms, executive clubs, and staff facilities.

the linearity of the building façade continues internally
image by chao zhang

enhanced views are provided where the façade protrudes
image by chao zhang

the façade minimizes exposure on the sides oriented towards the sun
image by laurian ghinitoiu

the building’s distinctive undulating envelope creates a rippled skin around both towers
image by laurian ghinitoiu

the towers have been designed to feel at home in the cultural, political, and business center of shenzhen
image by laurian ghinitoiu

the high-rise structures are connected with a 34-meter-tall podium
image by chao zhang

the towers top out at 220 and 120 meters respectively
image by chao zhang



project info:


name: shenzhen energy mansion
program: commercial
status: completed
size: 96,000 sqm / 1,033,335 sqf
project type: invited competition
client: shenzhen energy company
collaborators: arup, transsolar, front
location: shenzhen, china


project team
partners-in-charge: bjarke ingels, andreas klok pedersen
project manager: martin voelkle
project leaders: song he, andre schmidt
team: alessio zenaro, alina tamosiunaite, alysen hiller, ana merino, andreas geisler johansen, annette jensen, armor rivas, balaj iiulian, brian yang, baptiste blot, buster christiansen, cecilia ho, christian alvarez, christin svensson, claudia hertrich, claudio moretti, cory mattheis, dave brown, dennis rasmussen, doug stechschulte, eskild nordbud, felicia guldberg, fred zhou, gaetan brunet, gül ertekin, henrik kania, iris van der heide, james schrader, jan magasanik, jan borgstrøm, jeppe ecklon, jelena vucic, joão albuquerque, jonas mønster, karsten hansen, malte kloe, mikkel marcker stubgaard, michael andersen, michal kristof, min ter lim, oana simionescu, nicklas a. rasch, philip sima, rasmus pedersen, rune hansen, rui huang, sofia gaspar, stanley lung, sun ming lee, takuya hosokai, todd bennett, xi chen, xing xiong, xiao lu, xu li, yijie dan, zoltan kalaszi
project leader, concept: cat huang
team, concept: alex cozma, kuba snopek, fan zhang, flavien menu

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