Drawing on Shenzhen’s interconnected qualities, Morphosis 2009 proposal for the Four Towers Into One competition pushes the conventional urban grid to organize a complex system of four interwoven towers. The competition asked for an urban plan that would unify the Headquarters of Shenzhen Media Group, China Construction Bank, China Insurance Group, and Southern & Bosera Funds–the new global faces of Shanghai’s Financial District. Instead of vertically extruding their isolated 2D site footprints to four individual skyscrapers, the strategy of transferring air rights helps to extend the zoning envelopes of each of the projects through an interlaced system resembling a┬átraditional Chinese puzzle.

These otherwise vertical towers overlap at the base, creating multi-dimensional traffic through meeting, office, and green spaces that presents a new icon and philosophy within the Financial District. Like the Chinese puzzle, each project retains its original identity and form while still engaging with the surrounding projects. While Steven Holl won this competition, Morphosis’ intention to create a composition greater than the sum of its parts is successful in the implementation of metaphor and manipulation of the urban grid, symbolizing Shenzhen’s financial potential in the global spectrum.

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