The Sinosteel International Plaza in Tianjin, China, by MAD Architects is an organic, honeycomb icon for the redeveloped city. The Chinese government has named Tianjin, a port city close to Beijing, as the next step in its economic plan. The idea is to create the new economic hub of Northern China, and it is a five year plan. Sino Steel, China’s state owned steel giant, commissioned MAD to create a landmark for this new central business district. Two towers were required: an office tower – 358 meters and a smaller hotel of 88 meters.
The design concept of the towers is a successful combination of geometry, structure and cultural symbolism. The façade is designed in a repetitive motif – its hexagonal pattern is multiplied and repeated across the envelope. It’s made of five different standardized units of hexagonal windows, signifying the heritage value in traditional Chinese architecture. The façade changes as the windows move across the building in an evolving pattern. Therefore the façade is constantly changing and that creates dynamic image of the building – different from each perspective. Moreover, the façade is structural element, an exterior skeleton, removing necessity for internal columns except in the building’s core and enabling more flexible layout and use of the interior.
Aim of the architects was to design the landmark building deeply rooted in ancient Chinese architecture – a sensitive and subtle iconic high-rise. They strongly believe their proposal will help establishing softer urban landscape and urban condition, losing the sharp, hostile edge of the concrete, modern cities we live in.
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