Poly International Plaza
Design Firm: SOM
Situated midway between the Forbidden City and Beijing Capital Airport, the Poly International Plaza occupies a highly visible position adjacent to the Capital Airport Expressway, set between a new urban district and the agricultural-industrial sprawl that surrounds Beijing. One key challenge associated with the project’s inception was a need to attract tenants to the Plaza’s location on the outskirts of the city, irrespective of it not being located in the center of downtown Beijing. In contrast to the typical, undifferentiated office space ubiquitous throughout China, this project seeks to reconsider and redefine the human experience within this high-rise typology. The design challenge originated from the need to address Beijing’s climatic variables, air quality challenges, and temperature extremes, while creating a comfortable and stimulating interior environment for building occupants through focusing on the human condition.
Due to a desire to have a flexible, column-free interior environment, the diagrid structure has been used externally to create a unique, open-plan office space. The design response was developed to address the climatic and air quality challenges particular to Beijing. To achieve this, an actuated double-skin envelopes the interior, in order to maintain interior air quality and mitigate temperature extremes through a system of actuated ventilation slots. At the narrow ends of the building, deep cuts were created to bring light into the interior core. The interstitial space expands to create two 29-story atria. These atria create opportunities for social interaction and connectivity between floors, through communicating stairs, meeting rooms and balconies.
A range of rich and tactile materials are visible throughout the building’s interior. These materials have been deployed to express the primary building elements, in order to deal with the region’s dim lighting. The project incorporates natural materials including Mozambique Veneer in the interior wood ceiling fins, which wrap into the atrium adding contrast and warmth, while an extensive use of marble and granite are visible in the lobby. Back painted glass has been used internally for reflectivity and translucent glass is visible in the lobby, creating an open environment upon entry to the Plaza. Lighting levels have also been carefully balanced in the lobby to avoid glare internally. Throughout the building there is an element of transparency, with a series of spaces that relate to the outdoor environment and have a visual connection with the exterior.