CTBUH award Shanghai’s Poly Greenland Plaza

Georgina Johnston
13 Feb 2020

Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) design office complex in China

In the Yangpu District, close to the city center, a new office and commercial quarter has been created in the direct neighborhood of the Siemens Center Shanghai. The Poly Greenland Plaza office complex, designed by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), has been selected for the Award of Excellence of the 2020 CTBUH Awards in the Urban Habitat, District/Master Plan category, qualifying it as a finalist in the Overall Category The Poly Greenland Plaza office complex, which was developed together with the residential area, comprises about 177,000m² of high quality offices and shopping facilities above ground, with an additional approximate 97,000m² of gross floor area in the three underground storeys. 

The ensemble of office towers and commercial buildings forms a unique address in the city environment. A generous sequence of plazas and an open shopping arcade create diverse urban qualities that link the complex with its surroundings. 

The composition of five office towers and lower commercial buildings along the busy Changyang Road creates an independent quarter in the otherwise very heterogeneous urban environment. The facades of the towers, with their vertical variation, give the ensemble a uniform appearance that stands out conspicuously in the city landscape. The design of the buildings finds a middle ground between the different scales and functions of the neighboring buildings: the 50 to 100m high office towers reflect the height of the residential development to the southeast, whereas the lower commercial buildings along the road resonate with the older industrial complexes to the north of Changyang Road.

Towards the street, the development establishes a clear urban boundary without closing itself off. Instead, the edges provide many points of access: generous plazas open out to the quarter and invite pedestrians to enter the landscaped interior. Sunken courtyards and bridges are used to link the different buildings with each other. This creates an open shopping arcade with many retail outlets on different levels. The flowing arrangement of the rounded pentagonal building volumes creates a diverse sequence of sunny and shaded areas at street level. Bridges lead to the shops on the second floor, whereas sunken courtyards provide access to the retail outlets at basement level with convenient access to the western underground railway network. 

The envelopes of the buildings consist of curtain wall facades with coated aluminum for the solid parts between the low reflection insulating glazing, a design that ensures good energy conservation. Curved glazing at the building corners adds to the character of the ensemble; natural ventilation is achieved via opening casements behind decorative facade panels with ventilation slots on the sides. The nighttime illumination of the high rise facades emphasizes the verticality of the office towers. The lighting is indirect and has been integrated in each vertical joint between the facade elements and the horizontal facade profiles that provide a visual vertical structure in the facades at different heights. The facades of the lower commercial buildings are emphasized by horizontal, linear lighting at each floor level. 

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