More often, the architecture design surrounding scientific programs is compelled to compromise on creativity to uphold the functionality and efficiency of the design. Such measures, counter-intuitively, often result in limited flexibility and adaptability of spaces. A strong function-oriented approach renders the building disconnected from its context and drives it to lose its sense of place. Within the architecture design of scientific programs, there are, however, several architects who break through the perceived limitations surrounding this typology and incorporate innovative materials and technologies befitting the internal program.

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Exhibition Center at Zhengzhou Linkong Biopharmaceutical Park_©Gao Feng

One such design that stands out is the exhibition center designed as part of the Zhengzhou Linkong Biopharmaceutical Park in the capital of Henan province, China. It is a hub of innovation and technology and home to cutting-edge research and development in the biopharmaceutical industry. The exhibition center, designed by WSP Architects, is a showcase of innovative architectural design, combining form and function to create a stunning structure that not only serves its purpose as an exhibition space but also as a landmark for the park.

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Zhengzhou Linkong Biopharmaceutical Park_©Gao Feng

Architectural Design:

The exhibition center is designed with a modern, minimalist aesthetic that incorporates elements of nature into its design. This organic addition forms the main square of the park and stands in balanced contrast to the boxed configuration of the existing structures. The spiral and curved form impregnates the exhibition center with focal power and landmark status. Its design language is inspired by the shape of DNA molecules, the singular most important source code in the modern biopharmaceutical industry.

The building is structured around a central atrium, which serves as the heart of the building, with skylights and windows that bring in natural light, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. The building’s façade is covered in a series of geometric, interlocking panels that provide shade and help to regulate the temperature within the building. The panels also feature built-in LED lighting, which can be used to create a stunning light display at night. 

A circular waterscape forms a visual and sensory experience around the entrance of the exhibition center. An emphasis on the layered design is made visible through a cantilevered second floor. A holistic reflection in the water body and its occasional fluctuation with the wind adds another dimension to this dynamic form.

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Exterior Details of Aluminum Facade_©RUIJING Photography


The exterior of the building boasts an aluminum façade. The versatility and durability of this material, coupled with its aesthetic appeal resulted in a space that is both functional and visually intriguing. The use of Aluminum not only gives a touch of subtle modernism to the exhibition center but also aids energy efficiency through thermal insulation. Perforated aluminum plates are employed in such a manner that it makes the entire building appear to be lighter. The aluminum louvers rotated 360 degrees in the direction of the spiral, playing with the idea of light and shadow in resonance with the movement of the sun. 

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Exterior Details of Aluminum Facade_©RUIJING Photography

Sustainable Features:

The exhibition center is also designed to be highly sustainable. It incorporates a variety of environmentally friendly features. These include a rainwater harvesting system, which collects rainwater for use in the building’s toilets and irrigation system, and a green roof, which helps to reduce the building’s carbon footprint and provides additional insulation. The metal louvers aid in natural ventilation while the tall curtain walls bring in natural light.

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Interior_©Gao Feng

Interior Layout:

Though this architectural typology is notorious for not having navigable spaces, WSP Architects have successfully integrated intuitive wayfinding in the design of the exhibition center in Zhengzhou Linkong Biopharmaceutical Park.  While the interior design is a continuation of the exterior architectural appearance, it is designed to be flexible and adaptable, with a variety of different exhibition spaces that can be reconfigured to meet the needs of different events. The spaces are designed to be visually stunning, with high ceilings and clean lines, and they are equipped with the latest technology to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for visitors. 

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Programatic Zoning of the Exhibition Center_©RUIJING Photography

A clean interior programmatic zoning adds ease in the navigation for both the inmates and the visitors. The first floor of the building is designed as a designated display zone; the high curtain walls allow expanded visual connectivity of the exterior and interior space.

The second floor hosts a flexible office space with visual connectivity towards the central space via glass partitions. The highest space of the exhibition center is made into a dining space that allows communal interaction while also utilizing the maximum potential of the space in gaining panoramic vistas of the entire park. 

Viewing Deck at the third floor_©RUIJING Photography

The external form and interior layout are prime examples of strategic design in scientific architecture design. The Zhengzhou Linkong Biopharmaceutical Park exhibition center is a showcase of innovative design and cutting-edge technology. With its modern minimalist aesthetic, sustainable features, and adaptable interior, it aptly reflects the cutting-edge nature of the extraordinary work being conducted on its premises. 


Isra Nasir is a practicing architect with a Bachelor’s in Architecture from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan, and Masters in Digital Media Design from University of Edinburgh, UK. She is an architectural juror and a visiting faculty in her alma mater. She currently runs her own global architecture studio based in Pakistan.