Excerpt: Chengdu Tianfu Software Park High Rise and Cultural Building by MVRDV is an architecture project that features a tall tower with a green atrium. The full-height atrium serves as a key functional element of the building’s climate and ventilation system. MVRDV designed a four-storey cultural center with an art museum, conference hall, library, and exhibition space with a faceted sloping form, inviting visitors to climb its green roof and terraced interior.
[Text as submitted by architect] MVRDV has won the competition to design two buildings in the Tianfu Software Park in Chengdu, including a 150-meter-tall tower that provides the dramatic centerpiece of the campus. One corner of this tower is dedicated to a full-height atrium that serves as a key functional element of the building’s climate and ventilation system and is filled with lush cascading greenery. Also designed by MVRDV for the campus is a four-storey cultural centre containing an art museum, conference hall, library, and exhibition space with a faceted sloping form that invites visitors to climb both its green roof and its terraced interior.
The project is developed by Chengdu High-Tech Investment Group, and will be home to companies focused on the development of 5G, AI, big data, Satellite Internet, and other high- tech interests. Located in the southeast of Chengdu, it lies on the boundary between Chengdu’s urban expansion and a hilly rural area. This meeting point between city and nature, along with the Chengdu government’s “park city” initiative, formed a crucial starting point for the design, which introduces fingers of greenery extending from adjacent green space up and into the buildings. In the office tower, this finger of greenery extends upwards to form the atrium, while in the cultural centre, greenery proliferates over the roof.
The office tower is shaped to optimise the efficiency of the floor plates and maximise views of the mountains to the east. The atrium forms a semi-outdoor space: it is open at its base, where swooping lines gradually merge with a shopping podium, and it is enclosed by a mesh façade. This allows it to contribute to the building’s climate strategy, with the atrium acting as a buffer zone that allows passive cross-ventilation through the mesh and via openable panels in the opposite façades, while reducing solar gain within the office spaces. It therefore shades the terraces and helps to reduce the cooling requirements of the office spaces, reducing the building’s energy use.
The shape of the Culture Centre follows the triangular outline of its site. The different programmes are stacked in a stepped arrangement to form terraces that are oriented towards the park. A green roof of faceted triangular panels covers the terraced interior to create a semi – outdoor atrium space that wraps up and over the interior spaces. At various points on the edges of the roof, the panels are lifted up to form glazed clerestory windows, allowing daylight into the interior. The roof is a small park in itself, equipped with public plazas, a continuous pathway, and lush green planters that extend the landscape on top of the sloping building.
“In our designs for both office tower and cultural centre, the atrium is key”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “Though they take different forms – one more vertical and the other terraced and traversable – both atria serve the same functions. They bring in greenery, they connect the buildings from bottom to top, they provide shading and ventilation that make the buildings sustainable, and most importantly, they make these buildings exciting, social places to be.”
For both buildings, MVRDV is working with local co-architect CSWADI to implement the designs. MVRDV also developed a concept design for a third building, a smaller tower that complements the main office building. This tower design will be further developed and executed by CSWADI, in this case working independently of MVRDV.
Other buildings within the Tianfu Software Park Phase II started construction at the end of 2023, with the two buildings designed by MVRDV to follow.