The Floating Headquarters project is part of the Luxelakes Eco City development, located in Chengdu. Positioned on the Eco City’s northern edge the project is integrated in the residential area and sits beside a lakeside peninsula. The Floating Headquarters consists of eleven standalone office buildings enclosing three courtyards.

Luxelakes Floating Headquarters

Location: No. 199 West Section of Luhu North Road, Luxelakes Eco-city, Tianfu New District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Architectural/Landscape Design: Vector Architects
Design Principal: Dong Gong
Project Architect: Feng Chaoying
Site Architect: Huang Tianzhi
Construction Management: Zhao Liangliang, Li Jinteng
Design Management: Liu Chen, Zhang Kai, Wang Nan, Sun Dongping
Project Team: Ma Xiaokai, Chang I-Hsiu, Tu Dan, AI Xin, Wang Yichi, Zhang Han, Chen Zhoujie, Zhang Zhao, Zhao Dan, Teng Xiaotong
LDI (Preliminary Design): China Academy of Building Research
Structural Engineer (Preliminary Design): Xiao Congzhen, Chu Dewen, Ma Hongrui, Li Yilong
MEP Engineer (Preliminary Design): Zhang Peng (plumbing), Chen Yanan (heating), Li Hui (electricity), Li Xiaofei (electricity)
LDI (Construction documents design): Sichan Shutai Architectural Design Co., LTD
LDI Project Architect (Construction documents design): Zhang Chongling
LDI Project Team (Construction documents design): Gao Jie, Liu Fei
Structural Engineer (Construction documents design): Zhong Ming, Guo Gaohua, He Lin
MEP Engineer (Construction documents design): Yin Fulin (plumbing), Lin Yan (plumbing), Gong Bo (heating), Zhao Dan (heating), Liu Wei (electricity), Liang Xiaowei (electricity)

Landscape Design: Greenview Landscape
Facade Consultant: Shenzhen Keyuan Building Decoration Group Co.,Ltd.
Lighting Consultant: X Studio, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University
Interior Designer: Sichuan Sunbonny Construction Co., Ltd.
Signage Designer:XIANG SU, Shanghai BOXI Signage Co., Ltd.
Client: Chengdu Wide Horizon Investment Group Co., Ltd.
Construction Contractor:China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd.

Structure System: Frame-core Wall Structure, Frame Structure
Material: Fair-faced Concrete, Concrete Brick, Glass Brick, Wood Cladding, Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Glass
Floor Area: 70462.55㎡ (Ground Area: 42644.96㎡、Underground Area 27817.59㎡)
Footprint Area: 8253.69㎡
Site Area: 19770.05㎡
Design Period: 2016.08-2018.09
Construction Period:2018.08-2021.09
Photograph: Chen Hao, Arch-Exist, Zhang Yang

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©Chen Hao, Arch-Exist, Zhang Yang

The intention of the design was to create a welcoming space. We can all agree that the most beautiful moments and events taking place in an urban neighborhood are when people meet and mingle in public spaces. In this project we wanted to construct an environment able to enhance this most charming aspect of a contemporary city, to design a space where tenants and residents can be stimulated to unlock new lifestyle possibilities. The abundance of natural landscapes and public spaces created within the Floating Headquarters provides such opportunity.

The architectural concept stems from the exploration of two distinct and carefully planned spatial organizations: one is the design of a series of horizontal courtyards, the other is devised as a system of vertical circulations featuring green pockets at various levels.

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©Chen Hao, Arch-Exist, Zhang Yang

Horizontally, three courtyards define the character of the spaces enclosed by the office buildings. These three enclosures are called the Vertical, Tree and Water courtyard. They are placed in sequence and connect the North with the South of the plot. Each courtyard has a unified grid pattern of facades that define the buildings’ overall structure and appearance. The different types of grid pattern for the facade are further refined and adapted according to their orientation and positioning towards either the urban context or the courtyards.

The most northern courtyard, the so-called “Vertical Courtyard”, is positioned close to the city. For the facade facing the urban street, we used aluminum cladding and concrete blockworks, their palette and texture evoking an industrial quality. A rich combination of vertical circulation systems and sunken gardens is introduced here, bringing vibrancy and diversity to the ground level while smoothening the transition from the surrounding streets to the more private interiors inside the office buildings. The second courtyard, the “Tree Courtyard”, is the project’s largest open landscaped space and located in the center of the building cluster. Its facades are covered with wood cladding and vertical greenery so to generate a natural environment.

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©Chen Hao, Arch-Exist, Zhang Yang

Following the terrain’s downwards slope towards the south, the third “Water Courtyard” is conceived as a tranquil and serene environment. For the facades we chose glass bricks, translucent and sensitive to light, so to create a soothing architectural atmosphere echoing the water’s natural transparency. Below the elevated office structures, the generous open areas feature crystal clear water parties. We wanted the buildings to float above the water at various heights so that when a gentle breeze stirs ripples across the liquid surfaces it also helps to ventilate and fine-tune the buildings’ microclimate.

Vertically, the strategy of raising the buildings above the ground allows for large open areas and sunken gardens to be created underneath. This gesture gives the overall impression of the eleven office buildings appearing to float above the terrain. This act of architectural levitation not only mitigates the potential feeling of claustrophobia, imposed by the encircling building volumes, but first and foremost softens the transition between the massing of the architectural volumes and the scale of city. The creation of a series of public spaces underneath the eleven buildings invites the city and its habitants into the project.

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©Chen Hao, Arch-Exist, Zhang Yang

We also paid special attention to the areas located in-between the buildings’ sidewalls since these are commonly rather muted in their design and appearance. Rather than treating them as leftover spaces, the areas surrounding the fire safety stairs feature interconnected pockets of green space.

The design for each individual office tower started with the understanding of the maximum usable floor areas, given that one set of external fire stairs is placed in-between two neighboring sidewalls. This resulted in a system of vertical public spaces shared in-between the buildings. These spaces all feature outdoor terraces and vertical plantings, while complying with fire egress requirements. Part of the vertical circulation system, these interconnected green clusters climb from the subterranean gardens and courtyards upwards, meandering along the sidewalls all the way up to the rooftop of each office building.

With the Floating Headquarters, we wanted to create a place where people meet, a place where relationships between people, city, and nature are celebrated, horizontally and vertically.

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