Aedas is an architecture firm known for designing and constructing urban-scale built forms globally. Founded by Architect Keith Griffiths in Hong Kong, the firm is internationally acclaimed for its various designs, ranging from residential and hospitality to commercial design. Nansha Kingboard Plaza is one of the recent works by Aedas that holds its importance as a trade centre in the heart of Jiaomen City.

Site context

The site has a water body view to its east and west directions. A river, the Jiaomen, flows east of the city and a lake, the Phoenix, lies west. The high-rise building encompasses both these. views in an aesthetic setting. A short distance to the west of the site, an existing light rail track accounts for the noise source. The built mass has avoided this disturbance by creating a buffer on its west-facing façade.

The vicinity of the site is filled with modern buildings ranging from commercial centres to halls. Thus, the site stands out as a centre in the urban space.

Historical context

The architecture of the plaza encapsulates the historical context of the site. As an ode to the greatness of the ‘Maritime Silk Road’, around which the site is situated, a grandeur entry has been mimicked with a gate-like appearance in the built form. Symbolically, the form sings of the heretics of the Silk Road, which brought prosperity to ancient Eastern Asia. It also calls for the future of opportunities and challenges of the modern world.

Environmental context

Upon viewing the south, there’s a mountain visual. The building has strongly taken inspiration from the forceful characters of the mountains with its massiveness, adapting to a rigid block form.

Nansha Kingboard Plaza by Aedas - Sheet1
Aedas(2021)View From the Park_©Aedas

Social Context

The built masses in this region have waterfront features that serve as a space for public interaction and socialisation. Adapting to this need, the plaza has an elevation dedicated to imparting visual access to water bodies at all times. A small waterfront arena has been integrated near the main entrance region of the building. This effort complies with the principle of Aedas in embracing social needs and diversity.


Alongside an inviting form, the building has three rectangular blocks geometrically juxtaposed into one. The volumes have changing orientations stacked atop each other, allowing maximum panoramic viewing angles. The built form stands out from the vicinity buildings, giving it a hierarchical perspective from the ground level.

Nansha Kingboard Plaza by Aedas - Sheet2
Aedas(2021)_©Horizontal Elements(Online)


The building façade consists of double-layered glass curtains with simple horizontal sunshade shutters. These horizontal lines blend the volumes into arcs, creating a fluid appearance on the interpenetrated region. The elevation from the west looks similar to that of a traditional ink scroll. A horizontal volume connects two vertical massings, one being heavier than the other. This creates a visual appeal, as seen from the west frontage. For the people hanging out in the nearby park, the building stands out from nature, giving a sense of hierarchy.

The use of extensive glass panels and concrete signifies the contemporary style of design in the building. Adaption of roof gardens and building science for environmental feasibility imparts an appreciation for sustainability in design.

Nansha Kingboard Plaza by Aedas - Sheet3
Aedas(2021)_©Curves to blend the volumes (Online)


On top of the building, open-roof green terraces have been introduced to adapt to sky gardens. An infinity swimming pool also sits atop, which offers a panoramic view of the city, from hills and mountains to water bodies and urban architecture. The well-managed zig-zag nature of elevation allows the light and wind to pass into each floor seamlessly. This void also serves as a noise barrier to the metro line.

The tallest block of the building is 150 meters in height. The other block is 105 meters in height, followed by an 85 meters tall block. These secondary blocks have a swimming pool and roof garden atop them, respectively.

Aedas(2021)_© Rooftop Garden (Online)

The planning of the building can be zoned into two layouts; the lower zone and the secondary zone. Both these layouts have a common void in between. The lower zone serves in the lower portions of the building up to two levels, and the secondary zone follows up to the top level. The secondary zone has a long corridor that helps break out into different spaces. The lower zone has compartments facilitated with individual staircases for shopping and trade.

The Chicago Athenaeum recently awarded Aedas the International architecture award for its design of the Nansha Kingboard Plaza. With massive-scale designs in need due to rapid globalisation and urbanisation, environmental empathy often must be addressed. Nansha Plaza has successfully catered to the need for sustainability, fitting the building mass into the green surrounding without disturbing people and emotions in it. The inspiration taken from the roots of the Silk trade route strikes with an emotional link to the onlookers, often aiming for the mighty future that the plaza invites along.


Global Design News. (2022, August 26). Aedas’ monumental Nansha kingboard Plaza tower is actually a group of stacking volumes in a zigzag orientation that maximizes panoramic views and natural light intake – Global design news [online] Available at:  Global Design News.

[Accessed March 10, 2023]

Designboom, kat barandy I. (2021, July 19). Aedas completes its kingboard plaza tower in Nansha as a group of stacking volumes. Designboom | Architecture & Design Magazine [online] Available at:

[Accessed March 10, 2023]

AASAARCHITECTURE. (2022, January 27). Nansha kingboard Plaza by Aedas wins Beijing design awards 2021 – Aasaarchitecture [online] Available at: AASAARCHITECTURE.

[Accessed March 10, 2023]


A passionate writer and an aspiring architect, Bibek Khanal is an architecture student from Nepal who finds comfort in making illustrations and writing poems. His heart is set on appreciating arts and architecture relics. Being a part of the architecture and the people around is a riveting experience for him.