London-based Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has revealed that it will build the new Shanghai headquarters for the state-owned China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP) after the firm’s superlatively sustainable design was selected as the winner of an international design competition.
The 2.3-million-square-foot project—a park-like “mixed-use urban campus” anchored by three interlocking office towers with integrated thermal mass—will take root at a riverside parcel near the Yangpu Bridge and serve as a showcase for a wide array of renewable energy technologies and conservation-minded features. They include rooftop and facade-integrated photovoltaic cells that feed into an on-site microgrid that will enable the campus to reduce its energy usage by 25 percent; a thermal ice storage cooling system whose use will be minimized by extensive external shading; rainwater harvesting; a waste heat recovery system; non-resource-intensive, biophilic landscaping design, and an advanced building management system that will “continually monitor the interior environment and automatically react to changes in internal conditions such as variations in temperature, air quality, natural daylight, or number of occupants.”
What’s more, construction of the campus’s buildings will rely heavily on locally produced prefabricated components that, per ZHA, “will reduce the project’s embodied carbon and also support the local economy while procurement will prioritize the use of recycled materials.”
With “sustainability embedded into every aspect of its design and construction,” the project is aiming for a 90-point score in China’s Three Star Green Building Rating system—the highest number of credits ever achieved for a building in Shanghai.
In addition to the office high-rises, the Huangpu River-facing compound will serve as a dining, shopping, and recreation destination encased by an ample amount of public green space. This “echoes CECEP’s commitment to environmental education by creating vital new public spaces for its staff and neighbouring communities to enjoy the natural world,” according to the company. This hearty communal spirit, however, doesn’t extend to all aspects of the project considering our new surface-paranoid reality. As ZHA noted, access to the office towers and other spaces will be controlled by no-touch biometric security systems that render contact with shared surfaces by CECEP staff and visitors completely moot.
The CECEP campus is ZHA’s second major Shanghai project following Sky SOHO, which was completed in 2014.