Best Tall Building 100-199 meters Award of Excellence: Baidu Headquarters, Shenzhen

In the high-density setting of Nanshan District, Shenzhen, a new comprehensive research and development (R&D) office building has been built for Baidu Group, consisting of two high-rise towers and a set of interconnected circular courtyards. The East Building consists of two wings, skewed into a V-shaped plan, with the core pushed from the typical center position to the junction of the wings.

The central design concept revolves around the notion of “connectivity,” easily associated with one of China’s largest technology companies. This extends across the towers’ orientation on the landscape, which guides users through the campus from one side to the other, through to its use of a system of external staircases, which also take advantage of the region’s balmy climate. In a departure from the typical atomized tall office building, public spaces are created at several intervals, as a way of changing the behavior of the high-rise office occupiers and encouraging sociability and creative “collisions.” This affects the floor plans, such that the "thinning" of the traditional core-tube-plus-large-span format has resulted in each standard office plate having a depth of 12 meters. While this has the initial effect of reducing usable office space by 30 percent from what would be available in a more traditional layout, it creates a vibrant core space in the void between the wings, which addresses the client’s requirement that each department is well-connected to the other, physically and visually.

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