The complex is a landmark with an area of 75000 sqm, designed by Aedas in 2013 is located in Guangzhou with a total site area of about 159,000 sqm connected to the metro exit. The complex has manly exhibition areas comprising two multi-use buildings. One building has all the commercial activities including trampoline park, Exhibition areas at lower floor and commercial office above and the other building has hospitality and exhibition complex with conventional 3 story exhibition building with double height mass entertainment floor and a 500-room luxury hotel. 

Nanfung Commercial Complex by Aedas - Sheet1
Nanfung Commercial Complex, Guangzhou_©

Concept and Form

The early concept began with multiple options on how to position the projects, two relationships to their middle neighbour. The architects chose the intensify approach, focusing on how to increase the volume of the two sites in relation to each other so as to recede in value and making it more neutral. The form then evolved by breaking down the massing vertically, increasing the interrelation between site and the structure. Followed by the focus was to break the monolithic blocks which helped in building the relation between the two buildings creating an illusion of a single building.

The building is shaped somewhat like old fashioned wooden pencil boxes, where the building blocks are stacked on one another of random lengths stacked loosely on top of one another. The basic idea behind this was to make the building stand out among the surrounding buildings. Both the buildings have a visual disconnection between base and superstructure although the overall building arrangement the upper sections links the two buildings together which resolved the problem of creating single image for two buildings,160m apart and separated by the existing building. The elongated boxes appear as convex shape for hotels and concave shaped in case of offices. 

The structure creates a dramatic and animated appearance with its horizontal elements accentuated through small and large shifts to maximize the dialogue between the buildings giving a unified expression to the exhibition complex. The design is in response to the site context and its direct relation to the passive middle neighbour by volumetric placement and articulation of both the towers and podium. 

Nanfung Commercial Complex by Aedas - Sheet2
Entrance Lobby Interiors_©


The segregation of spaces is well planned by the Aedas where all the food courts and retail shops are planned the lower floors which needs a larger area followed by office spaces at the upper floors. Lifts, fire staircase and services at each end of the structure. The effect of casually arranged stack of box like form roughly follows the interior planning of the hotel rooms. The lobby is 4 levels above the ground level. This provides a space with heavy diagonal props supports for the above 15 floors visible at the bottom of the open rectangle. The structure has loading areas and the parking levels below ground. The building height is near about 123 m and the office building has irregular formations of the boxes. The exterior is carved up into number of giant boxes their outward ends replaced by glass walls. Sliding or staggering floor plates breaks the massing of the huge structure allowing light to enter the inner exhibition hall areas. The angular inclination of walls helps to reduce the massiveness of the spaces at the interiors as well not overpowering the humans working inside or the visitors.

Nanfung Complex Section_©

Structure and Materials

Very innovative structural system was designed by the structural designers to provide an optimized solution for the complex considering its complexity and cost saving as well. The structure was challenging structurally due to the staggering of the floor plates in planning. The structure is also a combination of shear walls and moment frames in stabilizing the irregular and distorted forms ensuring earthquake endurance and economically feasible structure. The structure is a combination of cantilevered beams, trusses helping in creating the complex architectural massing and obstruction free spaces. The structural system has been developed so as to produce the architectural forms and spaces without compromising on spatial use. Wind tunnels were used to examine the effect of wind load on the structural system of the building. Before handing over the building several shaking tests were taken on the building to check its stability.

The tower endeavors to be environment friendly through the green initiatives by use of Variable speed drive screw type chiller, variable frequency chilled water pump and replacement of T8 Fluorescent tubes to LED tubes. Low e-glass and solar film are used for curtain wall system to prevent heat transmission to the building. Dual Flushing cistern and water saving faucets have been installed to save fresh flushing water. Automatic water cut off system with cut off valves have been installed to prevent water leakage. Recycling paper, bottles, cans and batteries, reusing the decoration materials and using recycled or reused materials with local artists at the entrance lobby. 


  1. Online sources

Citations for websites:

Aedas. 2022. Nanfung Commercial, Hospitality and Exhibition Complex. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 October 2022]. 2022. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 October 2022].

ArchDaily. 2022. Pazhou Hotel / Aedas. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 October 2022]. 2022. Nan Fung Tower – BEAM Plus Online Exhibition. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 October 2022].


Architecture has always been the pursuit of improvement taking ideas and making them into tangible solutions. I am inclined towards planning the site execution. My tenacity and ingenuity towards projects and Research in the industry justify how passionate I am about working on life changing and evolved architectural designs.