Competition 2018—1st prize
Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Marc Ziemons
Project leader Heiko Thiess
Project management Pan Mei
Design team Peter Brändle, Nicole Flores, Li Yadong, Urs Wedekind, Wu Xia, Zeng Weihao
Partner practice in China Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tongji University, Shanghai
Landscape design WES GmbH LandschaftsArchitektur, Hamburg
Client Suzhou Yangcheng R+D Industrial Co. Ltd.
GFA 330.000 m²
By 2020, an innovation campus with offices and laboratories for young companies in the high-tech field will be developed in Suzhou, the eastern Chinese metropolis. The total of 330,000 square meters of gross floor area is provided in five building clusters of different sizes, which are arranged offset from each other around a park and lake landscape. In the spring of 2018, the design by Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) and WES landscape architects won first prize in the competition for the project.
With a sweeping lake landscape, small islands, and bridges, and buildings dotted around the landscape, the design by gmp and WES was inspired by the typology of Chinese landscape parks. Suzhou is famous for its classical gardens, which are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list as masterpieces of garden design. The building clusters are offset from each other and placed around the park, generating various vistas between the green center and the buildings; gardens at the edge of the landscape park create a transition from the development to the open landscape. Between the buildings, gardens, and the open park landscape, there will be numerous smaller and larger plazas in a flowing sequence that invite employees and visitors to pause.
The angular building volumes form a contrast to the organic shapes of the landscape park. Offices and laboratories are housed in three building clusters; each group consists of two large buildings that are linked via a plinth, and three freestanding buildings. The exhibition hall is of special importance on the campus. It is the main address and represents the complex to the outside. As a centrally located building, it can be used by the companies on the site as a reception area and for meetings, and provides flexibly divisible areas for temporary product presentations and exhibitions. Directly adjacent to the exhibition hall is the conference center with the adjoining “expert premises”. Whilst the upper stories accommodate meeting rooms and lecture halls, the plinth structure serves as a place of communication, designed for an exchange of knowledge between companies.
All facades feature a vertical louvre structure, which has the effect of creating a uniform ensemble of the different clusters. The views change in accordance with the spectator’s location; when driving past the buildings the facade seems to change from closed to open. The vertical facade profiles are arranged such that they protect the interior from the low morning and evening sun. Opening window elements at regular intervals ensure that natural ventilation is available to the offices and laboratories. In order to underscore the importance of the exhibition hall for the campus, its facade design differs from that of the other buildings. Large openings are cut into the cube, into which a vertical louvre structure is inserted as reference to the neighboring buildings.