Seth Powers Photography

Seth Powers Photography

Shanghai, CN


Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters

From the architect SOM: 

With its bold integration of architecture, structure, and environmental engineering, this solar-responsive, “breathing” building centers on sustainability and wellness.

Design informed by nature

The headquarters for Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank, a 158-meter-tall, 33-story tower located on the edge of a public park in one of Shenzhen’s key business districts, responds to the region’s tropical climate through a series of biophilic and sustainable design solutions.

The design inspiration is drawn from natural systems and elements like water and wind. These influences are evident in features such as the multistory water wall at the building’s main lobby, the undulating striations of marble cladding the tower’s elevator core, and the integration of a mixed-mode natural ventilation system that allows for seasonal air flushing of the key common areas and office levels. Automated louvers in the vertical atria traversing the full height of the tower and mechanized window vents on each office floor comprise a flexible system that allows the building to “breathe” during the frequent periods of pleasant weather experienced in Shenzhen.

High performance through integrated design

Building on SOM’s tradition of innovative structural engineering solutions, the design incorporates a tightly-spaced diagrid that serves two primary purposes. The first is to provide a solar shading system for the building and its occupants, an important consideration in mitigating the region’s hot tropical sun. Solar gain is thereby reduced by approximately 34 percent, and the design dramatically reduces glare in the office spaces within. The second purpose is to create an entirely column free floor plan and enable maximum flexibility of office layouts. The resulting interior space is defined only by a simple perimeter glass wall with an automated solar control blind to maintain optimal daylight levels.

A glass and bronze-toned private banking pavilion adjacent to the tower’s main lobby incorporates a high performance double-skin wall to provide environmental comfort and visual privacy to the consultation suites and areas for the display of artwork within. Reflecting pools, grey granite paving and seating areas, and arrays of trees and ground cover define the main entrance spaces and small gardens at the base of the tower, relating to the adjacent large public park that is the centerpiece of the district master plan.

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Status: Built
Location: Shenzhen, CN
Firm Role: Photography
Additional Credits: Architecture Design: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill