MVRDV has revealed its competition entry and research process for the new HQ of tencent, a major chinese technology company. located on a 133-hectare site in a prominent location in shenzhen’s qianhai bay, the urban district includes offices, employee homes, commercial units, public amenities, schools, and a conference center. the smart city district is shaped like a continuous undulating mountain range, with a waterfront park winding its way around the base.

mvrdv tencent campus
all images by atchain



to accommodate the company’s rapid growth, tencent began plans for its new headquarters almost immediately after completion of their current shenzhen headquarters — the tencent seafront towers. however, the tech giant’s ambition for its next home called for a total of 2 million square meters of floor space to accommodate offices for 80,000-100,000 employees. tencent also requested that the new campus be an exemplary smart city district, demonstrating the city-altering potential of the latest urban technologies.

mvrdv tencent campus



MVRDV’s studies, culminating in this competition entry, envision the campus as a grid of over 100 buildings with an undulating roof of photovoltaic panels. meanwhile, multiple bridges connect the buildings to form a continuous surface reminiscent of a mountain range. at the foot of the buildings, a waterfront park winds its way along the entire eastern side of the site, facing into qianhai bay. this park also expands up the lower levels of the adjacent buildings to form greenery-filled terraces.

mvrdv tencent campus



placed throughout the park are many of the public buildings for the district, including a school and kindergarten, a sports center, and a data center, among others. at the southern end of the park is the most notable building on the campus, a conference center shaped like a rock at the foot of the hills. flanking the entrance to qianhai bay, this structure serves as a landmark of tencent’s global influence.

mvrdv tencent campus



at an intersection of the street grid is the project’s ‘beating heart’, the information plaza. this spherical space, carved from the corners of four adjacent buildings, displays data related to the everyday functioning of the campus, from occupancy rates to carbon usage. another key smart city intervention is the site’s transportation strategy: along the eastern side of the site, a highway gives access to four underground car parks, but the street grid itself is reserved for autonomous cars and a shuttle bus loop that ensure employees and residents can move around easily. in addition, metro and bus lines to the city run along both eastern and western edges of the site to connect it to the rest of shenzhen.

MVRDV conceives vast tencent campus in shenzhen as an undulating mountain range



‘our studies and competition entry for tencent are an attempt to show that the smart city is also the green city,’ explains MVRDV founding partner winy maas. ‘with ubiquitous smart city elements, headlined by a futuristic data hub at the heart of the campus, tencent employees would feel enveloped by technology. but they are also literally surrounded by nature, with the serpentine park always within a short walking distance, and green terraces all around them.’

MVRDV conceives vast tencent campus in shenzhen as an undulating mountain range



in the design process for the campus, MVRDV conducted a complex research project to arrive at the optimal design. the architects developed 28 different outline designs, ordering them into a design ‘genealogy’ that traced multiple evolutionary branches as the team sought to add key qualities to their previous designs. ‘all studies were scripted, thus preparing a new way of designing and maintaining future smart cities’, adds maas. ‘the final competition entry was a synthesis of everything learned in this iterative process, resulting in a tech campus that is diverse, flexible, green, dynamic, open, adaptable, and above all, visionary.’



project info:


name: tencent campus
location: qianhai, shenzhen, china
year: 2019
client: tencent
size and program: 2 million sqm city district – office, residential, cultural, educational


architect: MVRDV
founding partner in charge: winy maas, jacob van rijs
partner: wenchian shi
design team: kyo suk lee, marco gazzola, shengjie zhan, seul lee, yayun liu, daehee suk, dong min lee, cosimo scotucci, andrius ribikauskas, luca beltrame, sen yang
visualizations: antonio luca coco, francesco vitale, pavlos ventouris, kirill emelianov, costanza cuccato, giovanni coni, davide calabro, tomaso maschietti
sustainability consultancy: peter mensinga
project coordination: jammy zhu
images: MVRDV, atchain, lights CG
copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (winy maas, jacob van rijs, nathalie de vries)


landscape architect: topotek 1
engineering, transportation, climatic analysis, water management: burohappold engineering
smart cities and digital strategies: carlo ratti associati, prof. IR. elphi nelissen (TU eindhoven)
renewable energy consultancy: samuel op den orth
communication strategy: kesselskramer