On Zhuhai’s Hengqin Island, this building by Aedas is a pioneer in construction. It is transforming into a financial hub as it becomes a part of the Pearl River Delta. This project is a 334-meter-tall office and apartment tower that transitions into a ground-level retail podium with a conference, commercial, and exhibition facilities. The location of the project is on a site that overlooks the water. The four parts of the tower emerge from the podium’s lateral mass, signifying the fusion of talents from Zhuhai, Macau, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen. This project, having 339-meter height, stands at 92th among the tall buildings in the world and 52nd in Asia. The project site, which is designated as mixed-use land, is situated in Plot #15 of the offshore financial island in the Hengqin Block of Shizimen CBD

Architect: Aedas
Year: 2020
Location: Zhuhai, China
Area: 218955 m²
Design Team: Andy Wen, Keith Griffiths.
Client: Zhuhai Huafa Urban Operation & Investment Holdings Co. Ltd

Hengqin International Financial Center by Aedas - Sheet1
Perspective view of Hengqin International Financial Center_© CreatAR

Design Philosophy and Concept

“The site possesses powerful momentum for future developments. For this, we imagined this unique building to express the quality of speed, growth and vitality. It resembles the prosperity of the new district and rise of the country,” – Dr Andy Wen, Design Principal of Aedas Global.

The Design concept aims to capture a fusion of energy in an architectural form. The well-known Southern Sung Dynasty painting Nine Dragons, in which dragons rise imposingly from a raging sea, served as the inspiration for the tower. It was created at Aedas by Keith Griffiths and Andy Wen, and it resembles a flood dragon emerging from the water. This  ancient symbol of the dragon emerging from the sea, a magical creature that can summon storms and floods in ancient Chinese literature represents how new life can flourish without end and overcome all obstacles. This is a  fitting symbol for a new structure devoted to the development of an experimental financial zone. The best example of this icon can be found in the painting “Kowloon map,” which was cropped from a famous stroll of Chinese painting 800 years ago. The architects aim to express the quality of speed, power, and vitality through architecture in a rising cloud atmosphere, drawing inspiration from the shapes of the “Kowloon map”.This is an illustration of modern Chinese architecture that captures both the country’s current development and its aspirations for the future.

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The Nine Dragon by ChenRong_© Aedas
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Form Deriver from the concept of momentum, future growth_© Aedas


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Program layout_©Archdaily

The project includes a variety of programs, such as Grade-A offices, conference and exhibition facilities, rental apartments, and retail space. The podium contains conventional and retail spaces for convenience. Office space fills the middle of the tower, with apartments perched on top to take in the serene and beautiful sea views. 

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Project offers the view of Pearl River Estuary_©CreatAR Image

Zhuhai’s subtropical climate places higher demands on the tower’s wind load in order for it to withstand the powerful winds that occur during typhoon seasons. To lessen wind drag and enhance the experience for pedestrians, the design team carefully modified the building’s orientation and entrance. A tall exhibition space and a distinctive canopy over the entrance are surrounded by a flurry of horizontally creased envelopes created by the fluid elevations’ glass and metal paneling that pour down to create a huge curtain. Pulling and twisting the vertical elements around the central axis, which transforms the tower walls into the podium roof, creates a seamless transition between the super high-rise and the low rise podium.

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Birdseye View of Podium_©Aedas
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View of Podium_©Aedas

Material and Construction

The project’s distinctive and potent shape, which was created using a variety of digital techniques, is its most innovative component. The building’s shape, which rises spirally from the podium to the tower top and resembles four towers coming together to form one, represents the fusion of talent from Zhuhai, Macau, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen at Hengqin and is symbolized by swirling rising dragons. Modern digital techniques are used to rationalize the complex shape in order to create such elegant architecture. To ensure construction efficiency and cost control, the entire project’s façade has undergone digital rationalization. This is an illustration of how traditional Chinese totems can coexist with modern architectural development. It captures both the nation’s current development and its aspirations for the future.


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Flat glass panels developing the curve_©Aedas

Parametric design methods are used to produce the wavy curtain wall’s intricate details. Using parametric techniques, it was possible to simulate the effects of placing straight and curved panels in various configurations in order to create the rippled facade. A solution made up of more compact, uniform, and mostly flat parts that could be installed at gradually changing angles to produce three-dimensional curves was created through a rigorous analysis and optimization process.The 3-D curve is produced by flat glass panels that are fixed in groups and gradually change angles. The iconic wonder was envisioned by the design team with great care and at a lower cost. Due to the intricate geometry of the podium skylight and its substantial span, the structural team investigated a number of workable options before deciding on a single-layer latticed shell steel that can withstand the necessary gravity and wind loads. We performed ongoing research, calculation, and comparison to develop solutions that made the structure lighter and more aesthetically pleasing without reducing its strength. We used BIM, Grasshopper, Revit, and Autodesk Robot to assist in the development of this design. This included advising the use of particular joints to keep the steel lattice’s precise and delicate appearance.Glass and metal panels drip down from the fluidic forms of the structure, creating a titanic drape that bends and twists in the wind before becoming a flat, wrinkly bustling covering.

Situated as a statement among the surrounding_©CreatAR Image
  1. aedas.com (2022). Hengqin International Financial Center. [Online]. Available at: https://www.aedas.com/en/what-we-do/featured-projects/hengqin-international-financial-center [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  2. https://www.chi-athenaeum.org/ (2020). Hengqin International Financial Center | Zhuhai, Guangdong, China [Online]Available at: https://www.chi-athenaeum.org/the-2021-international-architecture-awards/2021/08/10/hengqin-international-financial-center-zhuhai-guangdong-china-2020/ [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  3. skyscrapercenter.com (2022). Hengqin International Finance Center. [Online]. Available at: https://www.skyscrapercenter.com/building/hengqin-international-finance-center/17752 [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  4. architectmagazine.com (2022). Hengqin International Financial Center. [Online]. Available at: https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/hengqin-international-financial-center [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  5. archdaily.com (2022). Hengqin International Financial Center / Aedas. [Online]. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/955428/hengqin-international-financial-center-aedas [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  6. Aedas(2021). Dr Andy Wen explains the design of Hengqin International Financial Center in Zhuhai, China [YouTube video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmYNzk0A2kw [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  7. burohappold.com(2022). Zhuhai Hengqin International Finance Centre [Online] Availableat:https://www.burohappold.com/projects/zhuhai-hengqin-international-finance-centre/# [Accessed 22 October 2022]

Toukir is an undergraduate student of architecture at Khulna University, Bangladesh. He is fascinated to explore the relationship of human psychology and build environment in this age. He dreams to be impactful to the people, to the planet with sensible and responsible architectural practice.