MVRDV has won a competition organized by vanke to design the chinese real estate developer’s new headquarters in shenzhen. the 250-meter-tall (820 ft) tower — unofficially dubbed ‘vanke 3D city’ — comprises a cluster of eight interlinked blocks of offices, housing, and culture, rising from four separate bases to a single crowning tower. the scheme follows the concept of the ‘three-dimensional city’ — an idea that is the culmination of a series of research projects conducted by MVRDV.

mvrdv vanke
the building’s large openings provide ‘windows to the world’ with views over shenzhen bay
image © ATCHAIN



the brief called for a design that not only provided office space for vanke’s own staff, but also formed a vibrant mixed-use city block containing leasable offices, retail space, a restaurant, a hotel, and plentiful outdoor areas. as the site comprised two lots separated by a road, MVRDV proposed a stack of blocks that traverses the street to create a single building with 167,000 square meters of floor space.

mvrdv vanke
the development comprises a cluster of eight interlinked blocks
image © ATCHAIN



‘vanke 3D city can be seen as a new type of skyscraper. by stacking the required programmatic entities, initially proposed for two separate plots, on top of each other, the two individual vanke group headquarter buildings are turned into a vanke city,’ says winy maas, principal and co- founder of MVRDV. ‘they turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. by opening the buildings, a series of giant collective halls are created with a view over the bay and to the world. the plazas, gardens, and halls are connected by a series of stairs and elevators, linking the many blocks into a continuous urban fabric high off the ground — a true three-dimensional city.’

mvrdv vanke
at the base of the tower is a sunken, multi-level green public space
image © ATCHAIN



the eight blocks that make up the ‘3D city’ are designed to strike a balance between architectural diversity and cohesiveness, with each displaying a different façade treatment. four of the blocks also have either an indent on one elevation or a hole that punctures the entire depth of the block, creating ‘windows to the world’ that house atriums, parks, and plazas. these semi-public spaces combine with green spaces on the exposed roofs of each block to create a network of recreational areas.

mvrdv vanke
this public space at the base of the tower provides access to the project’s commercial and restaurant spaces
image © ATCHAIN



at the base of the development is a sunken, multi-level green public space, which extends from the second level below ground to the first level above, incorporating the road that cuts through the site. this network of plazas and walkways offers a shaded, well-ventilated space that is open 24 hours a day. the above-ground walkways are also designed to be extended into the neighboring developments, in the hope that the newly created pedestrian realm can spread to connect buildings throughout the district.

mvrdv vanke
vanke’s own offices will be housed in one of the four corner blocks, shown here in the foreground
image © ATCHAIN



in addition to the many green roofs formed by the tower’s cluster shape, the green park at the tower’s base aligns with shenzhen’s ‘sponge city’ program, which encourages porous landscapes to prevent flooding and reduce the city’s impact on ecosystems. in addition, the design includes systems for water collection and recycling, and while each block features a different façade design, all use high-performance cladding. preparation work on the site is already underway, with construction expected to begin in the summer of 2019.

mvrdv vanke
design evolution | image © MVRDV

mvrdv vanke
concept diagram | image © MVRDV



project info:


name: vanke 3D city
location: shenzhen, china
year: 2018
client: china vanke co., ltd.
size and program: total GFA 167,000 sqm; above ground 153,000 sqm (111,350 sqm office; 20,000 sqm hotel; 10,000 sqm commercial; 7,650 sqm culture; 4,000 sqm restaurant)


architect: MVRDV
principal in charge: winy maas
partner: wenchian shi
director asia: marta pozo
design team: gustavo van staveren with dong min lee, jiani you, chi zhang, marc coma, sen yang, matiss groskaufmanis, peter chang, cai zheli and echo zhai
project coordinator: jammy zhu
engineering: ARUP – andrew luong, waikong lam, arnon dienn
images: © ATCHAIN
copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (winy maas, jacob van rijs, nathalie de vries)