Design Inspiration from the ‘Rhythm of the Sea’: Qingdao Hai Tian Center, Qingdao

Session: Track A: Best Tall Building Award: Under 100m Part 2, 300-399m & 400m+ Part 2

Yu WangKai ShengProject image

Yu Wang
Chairman, Qingdao CONSON Hai Tian Center Construction Co, Ltd, Qingdao Conson Hai Tian Center of China

Kai Sheng
Founder and President, AKAIA Architecture
New York City

Located in the new central business district of Qingdao—a major seaport—Qingdao Hai Tian Center features three towers on the seashore. The design of the three towers, one of which is the city’s tallest, reflects Qingdao’s coastal character by including dynamic forms that represent lapping waves and are intended to invoke the “rhythm of the sea.” A stated goal of the development was for it to not only be an icon in the city but also serve as a public “living room” woven into the dynamic urban fabric of Qingdao. The design minimized the towers’ width and opened up the podium with a bridge and a grand stair directly leading to the seafront promenade and park, with a series of landscaped terraces linking the site’s gardens to the district’s pedestrian network. A basement link to subway lines and two-level urban plazas at both the seaside and city side connects the project.

Previously home to the original Hai-Tian Hotel, the first five-star hotel in both Qingdao city and Shandong Province, the location holds a special place in the city’s history. As an homage to the Hai-Tian Hotel, the design used the original building’s hexagonal geometry as the tower plates’ starting point. A progressive shifting in the hexagon’s tips at the north and south ends as the towers rise, create a vertical wave along the building’s main elevations. At the podium, continuous undulating walls mimic waves, while gentler movements are articulated in the tower’s skin with shimmering triangular-shaped panel systems for a ripple effect.

The project is a key national pilot demonstration on green building operation. It uses building information modeling (BIM) as well as smart building technology with dynamic parametric models to reduce energy consumption, optimize efficient operation, monitor carbon output, extend 10 percent of equipment lifespan, and provide substantial savings in energy use and maintenance costs per year. It is the tallest, signature tower to receive both USGBC’s LEED Gold certification and the top three-star rating from China’s Green Building Design Label. In all, a holistic approach was taken towards building a sustainable development.

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