At nearly 300 meters tall, Shimao Qianhai Center in Shenzhen stands as one of Qianhai’s landmark towers and one of the world’s tallest structurally twisting buildings. The building tapers and simultaneously rotates, creating a striking imagery with twisting curtain wall and structural columns.

▼项目概览,overall of the project © Gensler


The tower sits as the tallest building within a high-density urban block surrounded by six towers. It is designed to both harmonize the cluster of buildings into a wholistic composition and stand out as an iconic structure.

▼本项目是前海地区高密度的城市建筑群中最高的一座,the tower sits as the tallest building within a high-density urban block surrounded by six towers © Gensler

▼由高架桥下方看塔楼,viewing the tower under the overpass © Gensler




▼分析图,concept diagram © Gensler

Two volumes rise gracefully from the ground towards the sky, each representing its own identity yet inextricably intertwined in a virtual dance. The building’s soaring, spiraling form represents aspirations toward a harmonious future between neighbors Shenzhen and Hong Kong. It stands as a symbol of innovation and optimism.  The positioning of the tower maximizes the views to the bay and the surrounding hills while minimizing views between towers. Given the density of the site, the rising tower’s gradual twist responds well to its context by relaxing spatial adjacencies and freeing up views.

▼塔楼鸟瞰,aerial view of the tower © Gensler

two volumes rise gracefully from the ground towards the sky © Gensler


The tower’s rigorous geometry is based on a perfect square split into two distinct volumes. It tapers and rotates 45 degrees as it rises from its extruded rectangular base to the apex. At the building’s crown, the volumes cleave apart to reveal an axial connection, a metaphor for the connection between the two geographies and a link between mountain and sea. The resulting spiraled geometry is both aesthetically distinctive and technically functional for environmental resiliency goals. The rotation mitigates typhoon-level wind loads prevalent in Qianhai and reduces the overall weight and amount of structure required.

▼街道视角,street view © Gensler

the tower tapers and rotates 45 degrees as it rises © Gensler

the rotation mitigates typhoon-level wind loads © Gensler




▼参数化设计,application of parametric design © Gensler

To create an interior with more potential for transformational interior plans, the structural system is rotated to follow the geometry of the building. The column grid and curtain wall modules are aligned at every level in order to create efficient and flexible interior workplace environments. The subtle tapering and rotation allows for dynamic spatial configurations within the interior. The application of parametric design ensures the precise design of complex glass curtain wall panels.

▼由周边绿地看塔楼,viewing the tower from the lawn © Gensler

the parametric design ensures the precise design of the glass curtain plate © Gensler

▼塔楼顶部近景,closer view of the top part © Gensler




The podium envelope is effectively shaded by the external fins, and the glass curtain wall with a light to solar gain ratio of 1.7 sets a high-performance standard in hot climates. The twisting building form and recessed corners reduce the lateral wind-loads significantly, downscaling the structural members and embodied carbon. The project has achieved LEED Gold precertification and China Three Star GBEL precertification.

▼裙房鸟瞰,aerial view of the podium © Gensler

▼裙房街道视角,street view of the podium © Gensler

▼裙房外表皮设有高效的遮阳板,the podium envelope is effectively shaded by the external fins © Gensler

▼遮阳板细部,detail of the external fins © Gensler

▼仰视塔楼与裙房,up-look to the tower and the podium © Gensler

▼底层水景,waterscape at the ground level © Gensler




The developer wanted an iconic building that was a successful commercial endeavor with environmental resiliency.  As such, our work with the planning department centered on connectivity and integrated planning. We made sure to address the micro block and the multi-level interconnectivity between the buildings to mass transit and the wider neighborhood. We paid close attention to the spaces in between buildings: those areas that stitch together the pedestrian environment. The attention to detail of the podium and porosity at grade result from this desire.

▼深圳前海新晋城市地标,new landmark of the city © Gensler


The podium interweaves with pedestrian networks on multiple levels and connects to the below-grade Metro Station. Its carefully crafted forms, highly articulated facades, and variance in material selection and color between cool reflective glass and warm copper notes create a comfortably scaled environment that meets the pedestrian at their own level. The porosity, multi-level retail programming, and lively plaza all highlight the importance of activated public space and the spaces in between the towers.

▼裙房夜景,night view of the podium © Gensler

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