Infinity Loop – Twisted SkyScraper

OPPO is China’s Largest smartphone company found in 2004, in 2019 they selected BIG to design their research and development headquarter in the heart of Hangzhou. The architect translated companies’ philosophy into tangible spatial artistry. So the company aims to create products that are a perfect balance of technology and aesthetics. Also, they believe that these two diverse spectra can be seamlessly and mutually merge to design products that escalating human life.

Brian Yang, a partner at BIG stated “It will be an architectural manifestation of an OPPO product: effortlessly elegant while elevating the quality of human life in the city,”

The structure appears as a tangible translation of Yang’s statement, through its formal articulation and the way it responds to the context. Also, the 42 stories loop structure created a seamless connection between ground and earth, creating a smooth and uninterrupted continuity between the two ends of life. This concept was almost a metaphor for creating a fluent amalgamation of technology and aesthetics.

Significance of the Site

The project is located in the city of Hangzhou; a city with deep and rich historical, cultural, and technological notions attached to it.  Hangzhou is not just the hometown for technological advancement and innovations, it also houses three of the world’s 57 heritage sites. The economical significance of the city dates back to 5000 years ago, with being the information and trading hub.

The project sits in the scenic wetland of Hangzhou serving as a landmark and gateway to the Future sci-tech city. The placement of the project on the periphery of the future sci-tech city makes the structure a more crucial question. How the structure will portray future technological advancement. The mutualism relationship that OPPO philosophy demanded between technology and design was similar to the mutualism relationship that the site had put forward. The site urges the project to create a smooth dialogue between the dense urban fabric on one side and the natural landscape on the other side.

Infinity Loop - Twisted SkyScraper
Site a connecting node for landscape and urban context

Also, Read The Sky Habitat – The matrix of homes by Safdie Architects.

Form Derived through Environmental Strategy

The twisted loop structure of the tower with an enclosed void derives through an amalgamation of spatial, environmental, and social strategies. Pushing the loop down from the southern edge and simultaneously stretching it on the northern edge, was a climatic strategy as well as a formal expression. The inwardly curved façade on the southern edge minimizes the solar gain whistle providing a panoramic view towards the central oasis. The elongated façade on the northern edge accommodated maximum openings to provide natural light to the workspaces. Multiple punctures are made on the northern façade, these punctures extend up to three floors triple-height semi-open spaces. These spaces acted as socially interactive spaces that connected users on multiple floors.


Open-spaces and punctures on the northern facade

Open Spaces at Infinity Loop

The semi-open green punctures in workspaces were a partial strategy of biophilic design. However, the primary approach to the biophilic design was the creation of a central oasis. The wetland park surrounds the central oasis; an extension of the public spaces in the building vicinity. The natural landscape swells up creating a connection between the structure and the urban life in the city. Instead of adding activities on the ground floor, the architect transforms it into an exaggerated public plaza. Eradicating the structure on the ground floor blurs the boundary between the interior and exterior creating an effortless public movement around the site.

Infinity Loop - Twisted SkyScraper
Biophilic Design
Central Oasis

Also, read: The Dynamic Tower – Life in motion

Transformation of Floor Plates

The traditional floor plates are transforming to create flexible spacing in the workspace. Subsequently, they are molded along the periphery of the central open courtyard providing introverted views from the workspaces into the public space. The form of the floor plates optimizes the presence of natural light in the workspace whistle reducing the solar gain.

There is a sequential increase in the area of floor plates, stretching to the maximum area in workspaces. In addition, the first three-floor comprised of public function, including Exhibition space, conference center, canteen, incubator, workshops, and lobby. Also, these public functions allow a smooth movement of the user from the exterior park to the internal spaces. The above floors were comparatively larger in area than the first three floors. Triple-height semi-open spaces act as connection nodes for the primary workspaces on multiple floors. On the uppermost floors, there is an OPPO canteen whistle having an executive and VIP lounges. The lounge overlooks Hangzhou’s wetlands alongside the triple-height interconnected atria under the O-ring facade. This atrium connected the user on all floor levels creating a unified interaction.

Infinity Loop - Twisted SkyScraper
Staggering floor plates

Play of Scale

The project plays with multiple scales in design, from the large urban oasis to small courts. Therefore, the constant shift in the perceivable scale of the space keeps the user intact in an inquisitive bond with space. The user concern for the architect expands from the large public visiting public space to a single person sitting in his office. Also, the biophilic design elements intertwined with the structure caters to the user at all perceivable scale through small courtyards, semi-open spaces, atrium, and the oasis.

Impact of Façade Treatment at Infinity Loop

Although the form was specifically designed to reduce solar gain the façade treatment. It further aids a 52% reduction in solar heat gain. The design of the adaptive louver façade was to enhance the passive performance of the building. These louvered façade omits incoming solar glare and thermal heat gain flooding the interior space with indirect light.

Angled Façade reducing the solar gain
Infinity Loop - Twisted SkyScraper
Angled Façade reducing the solar gain

Therefore in the modern globalized culture, the skyline of cities is eradicated by the dominating presence of skyscrapers. However, these skyscrapers are designed in a typical modern architectural language. Subsequently, they fail to provide each city a distinctive identity. Also, they appear as similar elongated structures without any contextual connotation attached to them. However, the research and development headquarters for the OPPO company designed by Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) exemplify a skyscraper rooted in the social, cultural, and contextual aspects.

Also, Read Taipei 101 – Asian Aesthetics on Skyscraper

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