Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Magdalene Weiss
Project management Sun Yajin
Project team Cai Lei, Chen Jingcheng, Saeed Granfar, Lin Yi, Katharina Schneider，Sun Yajin, Zhang Yan, Zhang Yang, Zhong Ming
Client Shanghai Caohejing Hi-Tech Park Development Corporation
GFA above ground 58,200 m²
GFA below ground 32,450 m²
Total GFA 90,650 m²
Innovative parametric façade development / Façade and landscape elements create a strong impression of the ensemble
The 3Cubes office building designed by gmp for the Caohejing Business Park in the western part of Shanghai have now been completed. The office building complex with service functions in the basement floors has a total gross floor area of 60,000m² and consists of three cubic building volumes with different heights of between 35 m and 60 m.
The gmp design places particular emphasis on the character and elegance of the ensemble. To this end, an important role is performed by the façade, which features a special design also in terms of technical detail.
The white building volumes have an austere elegance and, with their vertically oriented façades, blend in with the surroundings while nevertheless – in their overall composition - contrasting with the very heterogeneous urban ambiance. The interaction between harmony and contrast is replicated in the design of the exterior surfaces. An undulating grass landscape culminating in a hill, with trees and arch-shaped recesses, provides access to the naturally lit basement floors. The landscape stands in flowing contrast to the static cubes in a harmoniously unifying manner, while at the same time emphasizing the cool austere elegance of the building volumes.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the façade is the key element of the design. Here too, the interaction between adaptation and deviation is the primary design element – the smallest cube has the largest openings in the façade, extending over two floors, while the façade of the largest cube is structured by smaller, single-story openings. And it is just the resulting visual irritation which subtly supports the overall composition of the buildings.
The façade is noteworthy for another special feature – the width and angle of the elements, which are alternately glazed and clad with white perforated panels, were determined parametrically. This meant that various factors, such as the position of the sun during the seasons, shading by neighboring buildings, the attraction of the outlook, the position in the building, and privacy requirements were individually evaluated at each façade side for a dot grid in the 3D model, resulting in a certain angle of opening at each point in the façade. With this method it is possible to optimize natural light, the view and very detailed shading options. In addition, it added another aesthetic dimension to the 3Cubes – the façades, with the elements folded at different angles, create a lively iridescent image. At night this effect is further accentuated by the lighting elements integrated into the façade; all façade surfaces become light-installation walls with the option of producing programmed images.