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The World’s Tallest Twisting Atrium

The construction of Zaha Hadid Architects’ 46-storey mixed-use tower, Leeza Soho in China has hit level 20.



BY Janice Seow

1 March, 2017


Upon completion in 2018, the Leeza Soho, developed by Soho China – the largest prime office developer in Beijing and Shanghai – will stand at a soaring height of 207 metres with 46 floors. One out of four project collaborations between Zaha Hadid Architects and Soho China, the building in Beijing, China recently reached level 20 in construction.

Situated within the Lize Financial Business District, Leeza Soho sits above the new interchange station, anchoring the new business, residential and transport hub. Evolving from the existing site conditions, the design of the tower straddles the subway tunnel, which splits the plot diagonally. Rising as a single volume, the 172,800-square-metre building is divided into two halves on either side of the subway tunnel.

A central atrium, the world’s tallest, bridges the two halves, soaring up to 190 metres through the full height of the building. It connects to the interchange station below, serving as a public space alongside an outdoor public plaza that mimics the building’s circular form, welcoming visitors from the centre of the district.

The diagonal axis marked by the subway tunnel is realigned as the tower rises. The atrium twists at 45 degrees to position the atrium’s higher floors with the east-west axis of Lize Road. The ‘twist’ maximises natural light and city views from within the centre of all levels. Sky bridges and a double-insulated glass façade unite both halves of the tower within a single building envelope.

Targeting LEED Gold certification, the building, not unlike the architects’ and builders’ previous project collaborations, integrates several technologies such as heat-recovery from exhaust air and high-efficiency pumps and fans, chillers and boilers, lighting and controls amongst others to lower energy consumption and emissions significantly.

Maintaining a comfortable indoor environment to counter the harsh weather conditions of Beijing, the public atrium space below is self-shaded by the tower. Efficient environmental control is also reinforced with a double-insulated, unitised glass curtain-wall system and envelope insulation. Minimising interior pollutants, low VOC materials will be installed throughout the building.

Continuing its commitment to sustainability, 2,680 bicycle parking spaces with convenient lockers, shower facilities and dedicated charging areas for electric or hybrid cars will be incorporated within.

The Leeza Soho is designed by the late Zaha Hadid and ZHA principal Patrik Schumacher. “It’s important to work with architects who understand what the next generation requires; connecting communities and traditions with new technologies and innovations to embrace the future,” says Zhang Xin, CEO of Soho China.

Leeza Soho is set to reach its full 207-metre height in September 2017, with the tower’s completion planned for late 2018.

Renderings courtesy of MIR


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