steven holl: horizontal skyscraper steven holl: horizontal skyscraper
dec 30, 2011

steven holl: horizontal skyscraper

‘horizontal skyscraper – vanke center’ by steven holl architects, shenzhen, china image © designboom

designboom recently visited the ‘horizontal skyscraper – vanke center’ by new york and beijing-based firm steven holl architects, while in shenzhen, china. lifted and oriented to direct views towards the nearby mountains, ocean and lake, the structure hovers above maturing gardens and groves of native bamboo trees. the undulating terrain is now blanketed with greenery, as it was conceived in early renderings by the architect.

pathways crossing through textured patches of long grasses weave through the site under the branching extensions of the building leading to the outdoor sunken amphitheater and a central subterranean lobby. steel staircases create opportunities for visitors to enter the elevated interior of the offices, hotel and apartments.

see designboom’s original coverage of this project here.

uppward view of a branch of the building image © designboom

the undulating landscape converges with the structure image © designboom

stairway leading into the building’s interior image © designboom

steel staircases lead into the building from ground level image © designboom

pathway passing below structure image © designboom

facade and louver detail image © designboom

sunken amphitheater image © designboom

louver detail at the end of facade image © designboom

mounded earth meets the underside of the horizontal building and then drops off to reveal a suspended office space image © designboom

pathway passes through vegetated gardens image © designboom

pathway crosses under the branching structure image © designboom

bamboo grove at base of pier image © designboom

clusters of inclined columns support the structure in locations where the landscape is level image © designboom

(left) view through the branching horizontal appendages (right) building reflecting within pool image © designboom

the 2011 SZHK biennale in shenzhen, china ran from december 8th through december 11th 2011. the scale of certain projects is such that the architect becomes not only a designer of buildings but also city planner and landscape architect and the shenzhen & hong kong bi-city biennale of urbanism \ architecture reflects this in its theme: architecture creates cities – cities create architecture. the SZHK biennale is the first to focus on urbanism as an ongoing theme to explore issues of the city as an active agent in contemporary culture. the program included more than 30 exhibitions, symposiums, panel discussions and performances. terence riley has been appointed chief curator (he is the first international curator for the event). the hong kong edition will work to complement the shenzhen biennale in an integrative way and is curated by gene king and anderson lee currently under preparation and due to open in february 2012. designboom is the principal international media partner of the SZHK biennale.

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