The goal for the Zhejiang Fortune Finance Center was to create a landmark for the new Central Business District (CBD) and set a quality benchmark for future development around the site in Hangzhou. The design solution by John Portman & Associates demonstrates how the Zhejiang Fortune Finance Center can fit into the overall urban fabric, and at the same time be distinct among the neighboring projects.
The towers rise 846 ft (258 m) and 617 ft (188 m) above street level. In response to the master plan, the architects were challenged to create two towers on the site. The task is very different from designing a single building because the two towers must complement each other and the dialogue created between the two is greater than any individual tower alone. Thus, the positioning of the towers, their form and the relationship between the two is paramount. In this case, the positioning of the towers takes on a sculptural feel. As the top of one building reaches up, its peak flows into the summit of the other, creating a dynamic energy between the sloping roofs of the two towers. The way in which the towers seem to soar out of the lower level plaza makes the design distinctively different from a typical tower/podium scheme.
The 1,399,308 sf (130,000 sm) of total office space in the two towers includes the China Construction Bank headquarters located in the East (shorter) Tower. The complex’s lower plaza level offers dining and retail shopping. Economy and efficiency were motivating factors in the design. The standardized glass panels of the curtain wall make up the curve of the towers, yet use no curved glass. So while the visual impact of the project is distinctive, the buildings are actually very straightforward.
Additional Project Info
The Zhejiang Fortune Finance Center is an oasis in and of itself. Steps away from the lively city streets of Hangzhou, the sunken plaza offers peaceful green enclaves and tranquil water features. The Xin Tang River visually flows together with the water feature in the plaza to add the soothing sight and sounds of water to the urban complex. The serene, reflective nature of water is echoed in the silvery glazing of the buildings. Significant use of glass reflects the sky as well as the skyline, creating a variety of readings in the day-long play of light and shadow. The tinted glass was selected, not only for its color appearance, but also for its ability to maintain energy efficiency while providing glare reduction. Decorative ribs stand out in regular intervals along the length of the towers to elongate the towers, giving texture to their curved surface and adding interesting perspective from all angles. The ribbing flares out at street level to create a waving, ruffled canopy offering protection to the walkways around the towers’ bases. At the pedestrian levels, clear glass is used wherever possible for maximum transparency, allowing the seamless flow of interior to exterior space.
“Lotus” is a public art sculpture by John Portman for the plaza of Zhejiang Fortune Finance Center. The sculpture is a 32 meter tall red metal obelisk. From it, a 7 meter diameter glass and stainless steel lotus-shaped form is cantilevered just above head level. The work, conceived as an urban chandelier, is meant to invoke a celebratory atmosphere in the public open plaza between the two towers and also act as a transition from the massive scale of the office towers down to that of the human being at ground level. At night, a high intensity light fixture in the cantilevered ledge of the lotus, and between the columns, provides a dramatic shaft of light that extends far beyond the top of the columns and the two office towers, creating a beacon of vertical light marking Fortune Finance Center’s location in Hangzhou’s new central business district.
1) The project was designed to promote alternatives to auto traffic with convenient ties to public transportation, approximately 5400 SM of bicycle parking, and accommodations for pedestrian traffic from all sides.
2) Specifying materials and products from local or regional sources, (such as the use of native stone for the paving of the plaza), has many beneficial results, including: a) stimulating local and regional economy, b) reducing the pollution caused by transportation from distant sources c) promoting local awareness and community pride, and d) increasing the opportunity for regional control over resources.
3) Using native plants, trees and shrubs in the landscaping a) celebrates the original natural beauty that makes people feel at home in the region, b) provides biodiversity in an urban environment, attracting birds, butterflies and other naturally occurring wildlife, c) reduces the need to apply chemicals for fertilization, plant diseases, pest and weed control, or the need for extensive irrigation systems, as the plant life is already naturally acclimated to the weather and environmental conditions of the city, and, as is typical of any landscaping, d) provides for biological treatment of site runoff by absorbing and/or filtering rainwater and helping to control soil erosion and sedimentation.
4) Glazing in the curtainwall incorporates glass with a low-e film coating to deliver a high transmission of visible light but a low transmittance of solar energy into the building, combining the natural light human beings innately crave with energy conservation and the associated savings prized by building owners and operators.
5) Water features provide natural cooling and ventilation while also appealing to humans on a basic sensory level through sight, sound, and sometimes, when they just can’t resist, touch.
6) Perhaps the most important sustainable aspect of the architecture is that it is designed for durability. The environmental impact of the project is spread over time by using durable materials and a “timeless” architectural style. Products and materials that last longer require less maintenance, contribute less to solid waste problems, and typically save energy. Architectural style that does not become dated is less likely to “get tired” and prompt decision makers in the future to want to bulldoze and build something new.
Owners: Zhejiang Te Fu Long Real Estate (West Tower) & Construction Bank of China (East Tower)
Developer: Zhejian Te Fu Long Real Estate
Design Architects: John Portman & Associates
Local Design Institute: Shanghai Architectural Design & Research Institute (SIADR)
Structural Engineers: John Portman & Associates
General Contractor: China State Construction Engineering Corporation
Landscape Architects: Arnold Associates
Vertical Transportation: Fortune Consultants
Curtainwall: RA Heintges & Associates Project Data:
Height: 258 m (West) 188 m (East)
Above Ground Floors: 52 (West) 36 (East)
Below Ground Floors: 3
Design Begun: 2005
Construction Begun: 2006
Year of Completion: Partially opened in 2011 while construction finishes, expected final completion 2012
Structural Material: Composite – combination of both steel and concrete acting compositely in the main structural elements.
Gross Floor Area: 210,000 sm
Site Area: 34,384 sm