Beijing has more than its share of world-famous architecture. Rem Koolhaas’ Beijing Television Cultural Center, with two huge inverted and connected L's, Paul Andreus’ National Center for the Performing Arts – aka the Giant Egg – and the Beijing National Stadium – aka the Bird’s Nest – are fine examples of what local and international architects have contributed to the city’s skyline. The quest for architectural beauty continues, with the Leeza Soho tower to be completed this year.
Beijing’s latest skyscraper is one of the last buildings that the world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid designed before her death in 2016. When it opens in 2018, the 207-metre skyscraper will have the tallest atrium in the world. With that 191-tall feature, the building fits in the long line of megalomaniac building that have been constructed over the years in China’s large cities.
Turning the atrium 45 degrees
Unknown to the public, the atrium as it is constructed right now, was not part of Hadid’s original design, at least not in this shape and orientation. The designers were confronted with the problem that a tunnel was planned to run beneath the tower to expand Beijing’s subway. The tunnel was then integrated in the design for the skyscraper – by turning the original atrium by 45 degrees, the two halves of the building could sit either side of the tunnel.
Construction is halfway
Construction of the Leeza Soho tower is now almost halfway, as more than 20 of the 46 storeys have been finished. Photographs of the construction work show the remarkable, ghostly shape of the building that will become a mixed use (office and retail) building within the Lize Financial Business District – a new business, residential and transport hub adjacent to Financial Road in southwest Beijing.
A new public space for Beijing
The 172,800m² Leeza Soho design is straddling the new subway tunnel that diagonally divides the site. The atrium is to become Beijing’s new public space, a hangout for its citizen’s, full of activities. Office workers in the building will enjoy lots of daylight, as Zaha Hadid Architects explain with the release of the latest photos and renders. “The atrium’s ‘twist’ allows natural light and views of the city from the centre of all floors of Leeza Soho. Sky bridges on structural rings at each refuge/MEP level and a double-insulated glass façade unite the two halves of the tower together within a single cohesive envelope.”
For the office and retail workers in the skyscraper, 2,680 bicycle parking spaces with lockers and shower facilities will be provided. Dedicated charging spaces for electric/hybrid cars are located below ground.
Construction of Leeza Soho will reach its full 207m height in September this year, with the tower’s completion planned for late 2018.