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Maximum daylight exposure for working environment, sustainable performance and efficiency are the three objectives met in the competition-winning design by BIG for Shenzhen’s International Energy Mansion skyscraper. The project is a collaboration between Copenhagen architects BIG, the pioneers in engineering consultancy ARUP and Transsolar.

Arch2o-Unfold Origami-Skyscraper - BIG Architects (19)

Courtesy of BIG Architects

 The objectives were met on the basis of careful observation of modern-day lifestyle and energy usage: the skyscraper as a building has evolved to serve a working function and accommodate long hours of human activity day after day, making electricity and air conditioning, for example, basic solutions to the demands of modern society. BIG’s aim was to make the skyscraper evolve to a new level, yet introduce it only as a ‘subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper’, according to BIG’s Founding Partner Bjarke Ingels.

Arch2o-Unfold Origami-Skyscraper - BIG Architects (6)

Courtesy of BIG Architects

Located in Southern China’s Guangdong province, Shenzhen is a major financial and trading centre and the newly introduced skyscraper is designed to evolve into an economically efficient environment adaptable to much more than the necessities of the workplace, light, flexibility, function. Project leader Andreas Klok Pedersen comments that the building is designed on an ‘efficient and well-proven floor plan’ with a specific curtain wall that encloses it. The issue BIG were trying to tackle was that the traditional glass façade would have very little insulation thus overheating the offices and increasing air conditioning consumption.

Arch2o-Unfold Origami-Skyscraper - BIG Architects (26)

Courtesy of BIG Architects

            Focus falls on the design function of the façade – folded in origami style with a curve that seems as if detached from the main structure, this new curtain wall system has both open and enclosed areas. The outcome is to test whether there could be exposure to maximum daylight and a minimum of sunshine exposure. The façade is aimed to both actively and passively reduce the building’s energy consumption by reflecting natural daylight into the working area, and in the same time to reflect the solar rays off the glass to increase the solar thermal energy panels’ efficiency. The overall energy consumption of the building therefore is reduced by 60% which speaks for quite an enhanced sustainable performance of the skyscraper.

By Yoana Chepisheva

Courtesy of BIG Architects

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