Büro Ole Scheeren Wins Competition to Design Octagonal “Super-Tall” Tower in China

Buro Ole Scheeren won an international competition to design the 350-meter Nanjing Jiangbei New Financial Center Tower. This octagonal-silhouette skyscraper combines local culture and tradition within a mixed use structure. It aims to be an iconic symbol for Nanjing’s urban identity.

Nanjing is one of China’s most bustling trading centres, located along the banks of the Yangze River. It has a dual identity. A historic center and an urban center called Jiangbei District. This district integrates culture, tradition and identity. The winning design of the firm, called the Nanjing Nexus was chosen because it reflected the futuristic visions of the city and the relationship between the river, local culture, and the landscape. Its architecture “connects past and future”.

© Buro Ole Scheeren

Ole Scheeren’s tower’s architecture allowed him to bring together history and modernity and create a dialogue between small-scale historic villages and large-scale towers in the modern city. The tower’s design is a reimagining of the rectangular tower. It transforms the shaft into an oval and carves each facet into a bay. Split horizontally, the eight bays are shifted to create offsets with large urban windows that can accommodate diverse programs.

Octagonal shape of the building offers tenants efficient floor plans and well-structured programming. The office spaces are divided into four rectangularly shaped Work Clusters and four diagonally rotating interactive Innovation Bays. A hotel can enjoy panoramic views from the top of the tower. There is also a rooftop terrace with a pool deck, restaurant and gardens. The building is transformed into vertical gardens by lush vegetation that has been planted across its urban windows. This is a modern interpretation of the Jiangsu’s garden culture and pavilions. The integration of greenery provides sustainability strategies at historical, social, and ecological levels.

© Buro Ole Scheeren

Nanjing Nexus, a building, explores how contemporary architecture can absorb and even amplify historical context and meaning. It combines the best of both the past and the needs of the future to create a futuristic workspace within the high-rise office tower. Convergence of past and present is more than just formal gestures. It is about creating experiences and spaces that have specific emotional and experiential qualities. Ole Scheeren is principal at Buro-OS

© Buro Ole Scheeren
© Buro Ole Scheeren
© Buro Ole Scheeren
© Buro Ole Scheeren

Concave surfaces not only have a beautiful visual appearance, but also optimize the building’s solar performance and reduce structural wind loads. They also reflect light, reminiscing about the Yangtze River’s ripples and waves. Nanjing Nexus’ simple and flexible design is easily adaptable to multiple scales. This includes the adjacent satellite tower, 100-meters tall, which was designed as an adaptation to the octagonal figure in order to make a smaller version of the super-tall tower.