SOMS’s diagrid glass tower in Beijing looks just like a Chinese paper lantern
A glittering glass lantern has risen in Beijing, between the Forbidden City and the Beijing Capital Airport, according to Inhabitat. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the Poly International Plaza, a three-tower complex, with the main tower inspired by Chinese paper lanterns.
The Poly International Plaza won second place in 2017 Architzer A+Awards. China Poly Group, one of the largest state-supervised conglomerates in the country, was the commissioner of the commercial project. The client wanted a modern and elegant building, that would “make [their] company more famous”, in the words of Poly executive Zhang Wei.
The complex includes three eliptical towers connected underground. The central tower is nicknamed the Diamond Lantern and rises to a height of 499 feet, while the two smaller buildings on its sides reach 275 feet and 220 feet. The Diamond lantern is clothed in a steel and concrete diagrid exoskeleton with angled glass, while its “siblings” are covered in vertical grids of dark metal rods.
“The exoskeleton structural system forms an outer thermal envelope around the office spaces, which are enclosed within a second glazed interior envelope,” SOM wrote. “This create daylit communal areas that accommodate meetings and foster social interaction, while establishing physical and visual connections between floors. The long-span structural design not only opens up the interior, creating a column-free work environment, but also employs a highly sustainable architectural/mechanical approach to address the climatic and air quality challenges particular to Beijing.”