Make the most of natural daylight without heating the interior
In 2009, the design was selected the winner of an international competition in which participants were asked to design a sustainable head office for the Shenzhen Energy Company. Construction is now complete, and the building opened its doors in August 2018. Its interior includes cafeterias, meeting rooms and exhibition spaces as well as office space for rent. The Shenzhen Energy Company occupies the upper floors.
The building features several novel sustainable design features which its architects describe as “engineering without engines.” Its building envelope has been developed to allow maximum use of natural light without glare as well as taking other external elements such as wind and humidity into account.
The sinuous, aesthetically pleasing, rippled and pleated appearance of the building is also highly functional. It was developed to provide a comfortable workplace environment in the subtropical climate of Shenzhen while reducing the energy demand for lighting and air conditioning that a building of its scope would ordinarily have.
The building consists of two towers joined by a lower podium. The folded outer walls, which give the building its pleated appearance, allow for striking views over the city coupled with improved insulation. The folds of the building envelope are oriented in such a way that harsh Eastern and Western sunlight in the mornings and afternoons will reflect off the glass of the windows. The result is bright, diffused light and an airy interior with reduced need for artificial lighting and air conditioning.
Both towers’ rooftops and the connecting podium provide space for three urban parks that create a much-needed space for relaxation in green surroundings as well as additional insulation for the building.
This new complex represents the first time that “folded” walls have been used to improve energy efficiency, and the concept has the advantage of simplicity. No complex machinery or moving parts are required for the building to make the most of natural daylight without heating the interior.