Zaha Hadid Architects Reveals Infinitus Plaza, China

Infinitus Plaza is the new global headquarters of Infinitus China. Incorporating work environments designed to nurture connectivity, creativity and entrepreneurship, the new headquarters also includes the group’s herbal medicine research facilities and safety assessment labs as well as a learning centre for conferences and exhibitions.

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The 185,643m² building defines a gateway to the new Baiyun Central Business District. Built on the decommissioned Baiyun Airport site, the new region links Guangzhou’s city centre with Feixiang Gongyuan Park and the new communities within the former airport’s redevelopment. Located adjacent to Feixiang Park station on line two of the Guangzhou Metro, Infinitus Plaza straddles the metro’s sub-surface tunnel, dividing the headquarters into two buildings interconnected at multiple levels.

Establishing collaborative workspaces that are healthier and more adaptive to new ways of working, Infinitus Plaza is designed over eight storeys as a series of infinite rings that enhance interaction and communication between all departments. Arranged around central atria and courtyards and echoing the symbol for infinity, the design creates a variety of shared indoor and outdoor spaces that build a strong sense of community (Si Li Ji Ren), which defines Infinitus’ corporate culture.

The interconnecting bridges house a variety of flexible communal spaces for employees, which all promote individual and overall wellness. These include a gym and exercise rooms, recreation and relaxation zones, and a restaurant and cafe. The bridges also connect the plaza’s offices with further shopping and dining areas.

Situated within Guangzhou’s humid subtropical monsoon climate, Infinitus Plaza has been designed and constructed to LEED ‘Gold’ certification and the equivalent ‘Three Stars’ in China’s ‘Green Building Program’. Its lifecycle carbon emissions are calculated at 15.3% embodied carbon and at 84.7% operational carbon emissions. Optimisation of the structure has reduced the amount of concrete required and increased the proportion of recyclable content. In fact, 25,088.33 tonnes of recycled materials have been used to construct Infinitus Plaza – primarily steel, copper, glass, aluminium alloy profiles, gypsum products and wood.

Annual solar irradiation analysis has determined the width of the outdoor terraces to self-shade the building. This examination has also defined the external perforated aluminium shading panels to optimise reductions in solar heat gain. With double-insulated low-E glazing, these measures provide effective shading and heat insulation that ensures sufficient natural light throughout the building while reducing solar heat gain and energy consumption. Operated by the building’s smart management system and powered by photovoltaics, a network of sprinklers spray atomised particles of collected rainwater onto the ETFE membrane roof above each atrium to dissipate heat by evaporative cooling. This translucent, double-layered ETFE membrane roof incorporates a 60cm cavity of compressed air. Activated when the membrane’s exterior surface is heated to 35°C by solar radiation, spraying for three to four minutes every half an hour will cool its surface temperature by 14°C, effectively lowering interior temperatures by 5°C. The rooftop solar water heating further reduces energy requirements.

The project’s system of rainwater collection, filtration and reuse also supplies micro-irrigation to the surrounding landscaping. The gardens on the roof of the third, seventh and eighth floors grow herbs and plants native to the region and are naturally irrigated. These outdoor communal areas are linked together with the rooftop jogging track and walking paths, while green roofs comprise 49.36% of the project’s total roof area.

Equipped to monitor temperature, carbon dioxide, PM2.5 particulates and other pollutants, the building’s smart management system, with fresh air linkage, ensures healthy indoor air quality (IAQ), detecting the level of occupancy and automatically adjusting for optimal comfort with minimal energy consumption while also learning to predict daily occupancy trends for increased efficiencies accurately. Anchoring Guangzhou’s new Baiyun Central Business District as a national centre for China’s health and wellness industries, Infinitus’ new headquarters combines innovative design and construction technologies with proven sustainability strategies to create new work environments that unite all departments and enhance communication throughout the group.

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