Horizontal Skyscraper Vanke Center | Notes of Interest

The Horizontal Skyscraper is a new hybrid model that provides ample public space in a unique way. The building also combines the most forward-thinking sustainable technologies with innovative construction techniques.

The Horizontal Skyscraper Vanke Center is an innovative example of the large-scale, hybrid use building, which challenges the usual developer typologies. The building hovers above the landscape, freeing it for public use and for a unique scheme of ecosystem restoration. Of the 60,000 square meter site, 28,000 square meters are left unbuilt, and people in the surrounding community have already begun inhabiting the space for leisure. By lifting the building off the ground, the project is both a building and a landscape, a delicate intertwining of sophisticated engineering and the natural environment. The landscape scheme works to minimize run-off, erosion, and other types of environmental damage associated with development.

Additionally, the Horizontal Skyscraper Vanke Center employs some of the most forward-thinking sustainable design strategies. It utilizes greywater recycling, rain water harvesting, green roofs, dynamically controlled operable louvers, and high-performing glass. 1400 square meter of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the building provide 12.5 percent of the total electric energy demand for Vanke Headquarters. Renewable materials are used throughout the Vanke Headquarters for doors, floors, and furniture.

Additional Credits

  • Associate Architect: CCDI
  • Engineer: Transsolar (Climate); CCDI (Mechanical); CABR; CCDI (Structural)
  • Curtain Wall Consultant: Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Engineering Co., Ltd.
  • Lighting Consultant: L'Observatoire International
  • Photo Credit: © Iwan Baan; © Shu He; ©Steven Holl Architects

Horizontal Skyscraper Vanke Center

Jury Comments

This project skips along from mound to mound and manipulates the landscape – it builds it up and shapes it into a powerful form above the land with inventive manipulation.

The building is shading the landscape and letting it breath – integrated sustainability.

A reinvented building type with the building floating over the landscape – dancing on the landscape.

2011 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • David Miller, FAIA, (Chair)
  • The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
  • Seattle
  • Ashley Clark, Assoc. AIA
  • LandDesign Inc.
  • Charlotte
  • Curtis Fentress, FAIA
  • Fentress Architects
  • Denver
  • T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA
  • Harboe Architect, PC
  • Chicago
  • David Neuman, FAIA
  • University of Virginia, University Architect
  • Charlottesville, Va.
  • Louis Pounders, FAIA
  • ANF Architects
  • Memphis
  • Sarah E. Snodgrass, AIAS Representative
  • Parsons The New School for Design
  • New York City
  • Allison Williams, FAIA
  • Perkins & Will
  • San Francisco
  • Jennifer Yoos, AIA
  • VJAA
  • Minneapolis

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