China Mobile, one of the largest mobile telecommunications companies in the world, selected Leo A Daly to design three buildings at its new international headquarters campus in Beijing. In partnership with Local Design Institute WDCE, Leo A Daly won a competition to design Phase 2, Plot B, of the campus.
"It is a privilege to team up with a premier firm like China Mobile," said Leo A. Daly III, FAIA, RIBA, FRAIA, Chairman and CEO of Leo A Daly. "We look forward to creating a collaborative, efficient and energy-saving work environment that reflects China Mobile's unique standing in the telecommunications world."
The new international headquarters, which will be built in several phases in an area of 1.3 million square meters, consists of a campus of 26 specialized buildings to accommodate a variety of functions, including information collection, research and innovation, information services, international cooperation and exchange and display functions.
Phase 2, Plot B, of the campus, which totals 148,000 square meters near a green park space, consists of two research and development office and laboratory buildings, and a public facility building. As lead designer, Leo A Daly is providing the exterior design for the three buildings, interior design for the buildings' major public spaces and landscape architecture while WDCE is providing interior design services for the rest of the spaces as well as all engineering work.
Leo A Daly's design for the research and development office and laboratory buildings, each a five- and nine-story facility, are organized on an east-west pedestrian axis and mirrored in their massing to establish opposite, formal entries linked to internal courtyards at the ground level.
Each sculpted block features facades that convey the dynamic activity within by way of large, diagonal windows. The windows reveal perimeter stairs, which act as impromptu gathering steps with excellent views to the landscape. Central to Leo A Daly's design concept is taking conventional, internal stairways typically found in research buildings' central core zones and placing them on the perimeter in which employee brain storming activities may freely flow. This design approach of providing informal interacting zones is currently adopted by leading global research and technology firms whose goal is to support new work lifestyles preferred by younger generations.
The buildings feature fenestration that shades the external glass skin with copper-colored brise-soleil, graduated in color from dark at the bottom to light at the top, to visually ease the building's mass and suggest an organic quality which links the building to the site. The two buildings are being designed with emphasis on reducing ecological and energy consumption impact. The buildings' roofs provide sustainable landscape areas and are planted with grasses, annual and perennial materials and include some man-made materials (such as colorful rubber-based walking surfaces). The landscape for both perimeters and courtyards feature sculptural earth forms, fountains, pools, terraces and gardens.
A third, public facilities building is placed adjacent to the research and laboratory buildings in the campus's central park and signature waterway. Within this building, recreation, food and beverage, light retail and central campus meeting facilities provide a multilevel, public place for both employees and China Mobile visitors. Its architecture is differentiated from the adjacent buildings by the portrayal of careful massing and purposeful sculpting of form, reinforced by diagonal fins which artfully echo the treatment of its neighbors. The cladding, materials and roofing of the facility incorporate a number of sustainable features, and are designed to meet Three Star Green Building standards (equivalent to LEED Platinum criteria), the highest rating for sustainable buildings in China.