Comprising three office towers and a conference center atop a ring-shaped base, MVRDV’s Chengdu Jiazi Courtyard Towers is a mixed-use complex that completes the last empty site in Chengdu’s Jiaozi Park Financial and Business District.
The conference center and the three office towers – which stand around 80, 100, and 130 meters in height – are arranged at each corner of the roughly square site.
With a dramatic cantilever and façade details inspired by the bamboo-weaving traditions of the region, the conference center serves as an eye-catching addition to the site’s most prominent corner.
This square arrangement of the towers and the conference center is contrasted at the base by a ring-shaped connecting plinth, creating a round courtyard.
Next to the conference center, this plinth steps down to a street level to create a visual connection and to welcome people into the center of the site.
Additional access to the courtyard is provided by three passages cut through the plinth at other locations.
Inside the circular courtyard, visitors encounter a modern interpretation of an assortment of one- and two-story buildings, which recall a historic feature of the site: until the mid-2000s, this was the location of a small traditional village, but all trace of these structures has now been erased.
These demolished buildings are recreated in their original sizes and positions to serve as a retail village mixing shopping with cafés, bars, and restaurants to create a charming and vibrant atmosphere within the bounds of the circular plinth.
Where possible, these small structures are proposed to be constructed from wood and recycled materials, reducing the embodied carbon in their construction.
The three office towers of the design blend in with the modest towers surrounding them thanks to subtle yet elegant details that are also key to the towers’ sustainability.
With the surrounding buildings already constructed, a shadow study for the site was able to identify exactly when the sun would strike each part of the design’s surfaces.
This allowed the team to fine-tune the façade design with fins at three different angles to limit solar gain.
On the back of these fins, openable panels in the office interiors allow for user-controlled natural ventilation, reducing the need for mechanical cooling and therefore the operational energy required by the offices.
All towers’ roofs comprise large areas dedicated to generating renewable energy, with a total of roughly 3,600 square meters of photovoltaic panels across all of the complex’s roofs and a portion of the towers’ façades.
The various approaches to reducing both the building’s embodied and operational carbon, along with other sustainability strategies such as green roofs on the plinth, native vegetation, and water retention and reuse, will allow the building to achieve LEED-Gold certification and a three-star rating in the Chinese “three-star” sustainability system.
Project: Jiaozi Park Financial and Business District
Lead Architect: Jacob van Rijs
Design Team: Steven Smit, Guangrui Tan, Andrius Ribikauskas, Meng Yang, Seunghan Yeum, Ruoxi Wang, Daniele Dalbosco, Bertrand Tan, Tadeu Batista, Tadeu Batista, Zheli Cai, Albert Parfonov, Lucien Glass, Chi Zhang, Ming Kong, Ruochen Zhang, Seunghan Yeum, Kevin Zhao, Egle Jacinaviciute, and Xiaoyi Qin
MEP Engineering: China SouthWest Architectural design and Research Institute Corp Ltd.
Client: Chengdu Jiaozi Park Financial and Business Zone Investment & Development Co., Ltd.
Photographers: Atchain and Tiptop