Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters is a new 147,000m2 modern R&D and manufacturing complex in Suzhou for a young Hong Kong listed pharmaceutical company. Symbolizing the aspirations of Ascentage’s culture whose cutting-edge research in Biotechnology has developed promising new cancer drugs to improve the lifestyles of a future generation afflicted with diseases once thought untreatable or incurable; the state-of-the-art campus was realized using some of the most technologically advanced digital design and fabrication tools.
Open, clean, and modern, the public and employee programmed volumes of the new campus’ seven buildings are discrete curvilinear shapes, soft in nature, elevated above a glass base in a floating composition over a black granite clad reflecting pool facing the main Xinqing Road. The 80m tall R&D and Administration Building, the new iconic symbol of Ascentage sits proudly at the intersection of the busy southwest corner of the site on Xinqing Road, in proximity to a new mass transit subway station.
Inspired by the benzene ring of the chemical formula used to annotate the planar bonds of the six carbon and hydrogen molecules, each building volume’s façade is carefully designed using the benzene ring hexagon as the source form, which is then engineered to fold parametrically bonding around the seven different building volumes. These parametrically modeled facades using adaptive BIM families were then digitally fabricated using Ultra High Strength Concrete panels and anodized aluminum nodes and extrusions affording distinct façade designs for optimal balance of visual transparency and privacy.
Together with new high-tech research labs and an expansive advanced manufacturing fit out bathed with ample diffuse natural light filtering from its translucent roof, the distinctly programmed composition of the projects’ buildings on the 60,870m2 site, create a singular campus and new identity for Ascentage’s promising future.
Symphony Orthodontics is a 1,500 ft2 clinic founded by an Orthodontic specialist, in an area of Virginia with a latent demand for treatment. The client sought a welcoming and inclusive strategy for her first outpost, to gain the trust of new patients. The design of the new clinic also needed to feel innovative to reflect the state-of-the-art treatments on offer and generate a buzz in the community.
To meet this challenge, OLI Architecture designed a series of flowing open and enclosed spaces with sinuous organic lines. The integration of white surfaces (which enhance levels of natural light) and live trees throughout the space are strategies deployed in Evidence-Based Design (EBD) to promote healing and reduce stress. Ultimately, the desire was to elevate the space beyond a medical environment, with attention also given to custom millwork surfaces, from a curved reception desk and volumetric sculpted lights to frameless curved wood doors. Quality craftsmanship and custom-made details take priority over ready-made commercial products to highlight the clinic’s custom-made treatment approach.
Incorporating a complex and varied program within a narrow, linear footprint posed a unique design challenge. While fluidity, connectivity and efficiency are key in times of high foot traffic, it was important to maintain strict programmatic delineations, such as between the public waiting room, treatment areas and delivery access. The fine balance between public and private is also achieved by incorporating elements such as gradient frosted glass, which maintains privacy and keeps patients at ease, while creating visual and cognitive transparency between staff and patients.
An emphasis on sustainability was threaded throughout the project. All materials, even the low-iron, ultra-clear curved-glass partitions, were locally sourced. Every light received an LED bulb and motion-sensor, including the striking ornamental fixtures. Motorized outdoor air dampers and exterior door seals decrease HVAC loads, while insulated partitions and ceiling cavities boost R values. Monolithic white volumes and surfaces, together with high ceilings, maximize light and air flow throughout the space; live plants improve air quality. LVT flooring, selected for durability, meets WELL and LEED certification standards and is free of phthalates (particularly detrimental to children).
The resulting design offers a new take on the clinical: a clean and neutral space in which harsh corners are softened and stress and tension is substituted with serenity, embodying the clinics holistic approach and restoring smiles to young patients.
Design: 2016-2020 Construction: 2018-2022
Nestled in the footsteps of the Yuhua Jinhua mountains in the countryside of Anji county is the new AnjiPlay Kindergarten and International Child Care Center. Anchoring the education complex comprised of research and teaching centers, an AnjiPlay Museum, convention center and dorms, is the AnjiPlay early childhood kindergarten, the flagship of educator, Ms. Cheng Xueqin’s self-determinate, play based curriculum schools for 3 to 6 year olds.
Love, risk, joy, engagement, reflection are the guiding principles of AnjiPlay. Maximizing the opportunities for imaginative play and contact with natural elements and phenomena requires a predominant presence of nature embracing a humble architecture. Earth, water, sky, trees, bamboo, hills, tunnels and ditches are among the integrated environmental elements that engage children in endless exploration, allowing each child to take ownership of discovery and learning through “True Play.”
Architecture, is one of the environmental elements that affords complexity in terms of spatial experience and shelter. With the overlapping blending of the natural and architectural elements, new opportunities, phenomena and experiences are constantly created for play and learning. AnjiPlay architecture though must be in its elemental form, simple enough to allow for phenomena to be experienced, not dictated, trusting and engaging children in learning from their natural environment.
The Anji Campus design is the result of experimental play, following the manner of the 21st century early childhood education movement. Founded by Cheng Xueqin, Anji Play begins with the introduction of “large, minimally structured materials within an open-ended, minimally structured environment” and the right of self-determined play. In exercising these rights to space, freedom, materials and time, the children develop play intentions that manifest themselves in “high degrees of complexity.”
In the same manner that the children, left to their own devices, seek to “eliminate factors that stifle play intentions,” so does the architecture of Anji Campus. The prerequisites to the design process derive from the fundamentals of Cheng Xueqin’s philosophy: children have a right of “access to open-ended environments that do not determine or direct the experience or outcome of play… environments that are carefully designed to maximize discovery and problem solving but not lead to specific outcomes or insights…that allow children to challenge themselves at their own level of self-determined risk…[and] that provide access to the natural world as much as possible.”
In fulfillment of these rights is a neutral architecture with the ecology in the foreground, and a fluidity between the spaces. Located in Anji County in the Zhejiang province of China, the site is diverse in its topography and natural elements.
Within the traditional context analysis arises a natural playscape of five clusters, with a ramp of Anji bamboo connecting. The five clusters dissolve into sixteen homerooms, sharing a common building block but remaining unique in form. The homeroom becomes not only an uninhibited space to play and learn and grow, but a home to its children.
No. 1 Bond
No. 1 Bond
Bund is the very origin of Shanghai modern history. The sound of the bell tower of the Customs House, the traveling ships of the HuangPu River and the great western style bund buildings are the memories of the Bund. Shanghai Bund Art Bookstore, located at the No. 1 Bund, will begin to tell us the story of art and culture.
This design option is to bring modernity to tradition, to introduce openness to exclusivity, and to insert lightness to solidity. With fluid spatial planning and minimum material to create a modern art space, and to display art books and artworks artistically.
The design encompasses a wooden book gallery core that weaves through all three zones of the bookstore. In parallel, a great table anchors an informal reading zone framed by a bookcase partition displaying art, books and goods for sale. The partitions act as delineators for various themed/zones throughout the bookstore; from Photography, Art, Architecture, Design, Food, Travel, Leisure, etc. At the end of the book gallery core is a tiered informal reading area where visitors can read, enjoy refreshments and experience informal lectures, exhibitions and performance art.
With the second story windows blocked for gallery walls, large format High Definition 8K video screens projecting outward have been introduced to activate the façade. The lower windows create an upper valance to allow for the extension of the video display from above while allowing for views into the bookstore zones and the book gallery. This allows for the first two floors to be fully activated with interchangeable themes. The graphics would be tasteful, imagery from simple default color to unhurried animations of the art exhibition inside to images of beautiful book pages gently turning which would be on sale inside.
The corner window is of a similar concept. However, the high definition screen would contain a full, single page e-book reader of a beautiful book on sale in the store. The pages would be controlled by the page turning motion of the person on the exterior of the façade looking inward through the window. By a wave of the arm, the onlooker can flip the pages at any speed as the e-book video would contain the motion of an actual page being flipped.
Diageo Jade Complex
Diageo Jade Complex
Design: 2021-2023 Construction: 2022-Ongoing
The Diageo Jade complex is inspired by the tradition of whisky making, and its deep connection to place. Located in a fertile valley in Dali, and fed by pristine natural springs, the Jade whisky made here is born from a rich and beautiful environment. The architecture of the complex takes its cue from this relationship, drawing inspiration from the heritage of Dali and Scottish whisky making traditions, and taking advantage of the biodiverse landscape and spectacular views the site affords.
The architectural concept of the project highlights the experience of nature, by stimulating the senses. We have chosen materials and carved space in order to frame views, control light and amplify sound. The sky, water and air are integral components of the design, along with the earth, stone and planting. Taste, touch, sound and smell are all activated and stimulated through this crafted Jade experience. The Jade complex design is abstracted from the building traditions of Bai/Dali vernacular architecture, and historic Scottish whisky distilleries. These inspirations have a common material palette of rough stone, dark pitched roofs, and whitewashed walls. These materials are formed into a series of courtyard-like spaces, a typology typical in the region, to utilize sustainable practices of cross-ventilation and thermal mass. The long, linear site presents the opportunity to experience a dynamic, sloped landscape, approximately 12m from West to East.
The stone buildings of the Visitor’s Center are low and embedded in the ground along the north approach road, and then once inside dramatically open up to reveal expansive views of the Cangshan Mountains to the south. The building layout is terraced to take advantage of the naturally sloping site and create a dynamic visitor experience to be discovered.
A series of pools and water features are integrated with the Visitor’s Center to emphasize Jade’s deep connection to water. These pools are filled with purified water from the processing of the pristine single malt whisky. This water, along with collected rainwater, is also used to irrigate the lush landscape at the east end of the site, supporting the biodiversity of Yunnan where the original pristine spring water is cycled back into the ecosystem.
The tapered form of the barrel tower is an abstraction, of the famous Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng Temple in Dali. It is jewel-like shape (tapered at the top and bottom) minimizes shade of the peripheral platform below while giving the form a perspectival lift and a taller appearance than the actual height. The barrel tower is clad in tessellated pattern of white hexagonal metal panels, reminiscent of the faceted tiles found in the vernacular “Bai Architecture” of the region.
Shanghai Fangsuo Culture Center Public Culture Project is located at 1790 Bin Jiang Blvd, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, a traditional industrial shipyard which has been planned by the district government to be transformed to a new cultural and retail destination. Flanked by an OMA exhibition pavilion and a shipyard factory which was adaptively reused into a new conference center by Kengo Kuma, the new Shanghai Fangsuo Cultural Center will be a new cultural bookstore containing, themed zones of books and activity. Proprietary Fangsuo goods and activities of books, stationary, fashion, cafe, kitchen studios, gallery and theater, have been designed adjacent themed marketing tie-ups and retail collaborations throughout the 17,000m2 complex.
The design of the project was inspired by the historical memory of the industrial shipyard and the adjacent Haungpu river, the commerical lifeline to the development of Shanghai. OLI’s design was conceived as two ship hulls creating a spine of bookshelves with themed zones in the never used partially submerged core and shell building. The axial spine with a series of intermittent skylights and three main courtyards connected to flood locks abutting the river, connects the various programmed spaces on either side, allowing the visitors to wander through strategically placed openings and mezzanine bridges. The materials are mainly architectural color concrete, textured blackened steel and terrazzo with specially designed metal bookshelves inspired by ship elements. The East and West entrance canopies and the unique stair elements of the courtyards allowing multiple access points into the retail complex are also incorporated into the ship inspired design.
Designed for an avid collector of rare Tibetan Buddhist art, the office and gallery space are housed in SOM’s recently completed Poly International Center in Shanghai’s Pudong District. On the 8th level of the tower, the full-floor office has access to panoramic views of the Huangpu River and the ever-growing Shanghai skyline.
The design, contemporary yet casual, adapts to the duality of the needs of a burgeoning financial services company and the serene and tranquil gallery spaces of client’s growing art collection. Illuminated and scaled with intent, the custom-designed showcases are spatial yet minimal in their articulation, bringing to the foreground the exquisite artifacts of gilded bronze, copper, and gold.
Design: 2017-2019 Construction: 2018-2019
Designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, the new Beijing Headquarters for Tencent, multinational internet conglomerate, and the 13th most valuable company in the world (by Forbes), required unified design for the signage and wayfinding systems, as well as placemaking environmental graphics in key strategic public areas. In collaboration with Pentagram, the world’s largest independently-owned, multidisciplinary design firm, OLI was tasked to unify the sprawling multilevel headquarters with strategic signage and wayfinding interventions. The design team through careful analysis of the building layout and occupant flow, designed minimal digital placemaking interventions in key public nodes, providing distinct landmarks within the strong architectural character of the new complex, and a common visual and material language for the thousands of employees the new HQ would accommodate.
Additional changes to the interior architecture through discrete interventions have been strategically developed with an emphasis on maximum impact while considering and honoring the original design intent of the space and the schedule of construction minimizing abortive works.
Multinational investment internet holding conglomerate Tencent has quickly become one of the world’s most valuable companies. With this newfound stature, the founders sought out a curated, cultured identity and design in their buildings and campuses, one befitting of the top 5 most valuable brands in the world following Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.
With a cadre of engineers and designers averaging the age of twenty-seven as the driving force behind Tencent’s meteoric rise, the company and its founders actively prioritize the well-being and work environment of their young employees. On this basis, the design of new office interiors for the Cloud Computing Division brings together elements of collaborative open spaces while ensuring individuals a sense of personal space.
Simple, natural principles secede the design from the iconographic, multi-colored interiors of Tencent’s previous offices. Eliminating the traditional room and cubicle partitions in favor of long, linear tables arrayed on an open floor plan promotes a culture of interaction, while strategic cutouts in the tables for broadleaf plants and floor-to-ceiling storage units staggered throughout filter for varying levels of privacy and establish localized spatial groups.
Design: 2017-2018 Construction: 2018-Ongoing
Aspiring to create a homegrown brand to rival the likes of Chanel and Tom Ford, Acro, the high-end cosmetic branch of the large multinational consumer products group Pola, tasked OLI to conceptualize a line of retail fit-outs catering to the successful, self-confident clientele of the Amplitude brand. Representing the core values of beauty, Amplitude sought a design of timeless quality and natural materials. Surfaces of blue-black and gold, subtle rounded corners contrasted with sharp edges, simple elegant lines with bold textured surfaces provide impact for brand differentiation. With the first phase of fit-outs successfully completed in 2018, several new locations in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nayoa, Japan are well on their way, soon to be followed by international fit-outs scheduled for 2020.
Museum of Islamic Art Terrace
Design: 2015-2016 Construction: 2016
At the top floor of I. M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art is Idam, Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in the Middle East offering an Arabic inspired French haute cuisine. Simple yet understated, the design provides access from the signature national institution to a newly designed terrace space with seating and service counters.
Oversized stainless-steel peak doors, low iron glass and “Hautville” French limestone preserves the geometry and material palate of the original museum design while offering a new experience, with spectacular panoramic views of the ever-growing Doha skyline.
North Zone Silk Factory
Design: 2016 Construction: 2016
The town of Wuzhen is famous for its traditional architectural heritage. However, before the advent of tourism, it was a quaint country town with some light industry, most notably a silk factory bordering the canal. Chen Xianghong, the developer of Wuzhen, fought the urban planning laws that mandated the removal of the buildings, and secured the preservation of the factory as well as the underappreciated memory of its recent past.
Built before the modernization of China, the factory used construction techniques that saved on materials: elaborate concrete trusses carrying a traditional wooden roof frame.
Each hall was built successively with its own structural system. The economical process also dictated the use of natural lighting, with incremental differences in each building. The ancillary new buildings by DCA extend this vocabulary in a contemporary fashion.
The existing structures, adapted as galleries, were cleared of all additions, and preserved in their raw state. The existing doors, windows and skylights create cross views to the interior street, as well as a unique quality of light. Our goal was to use these existing features to create an open and interesting relationship with the outside. The spatial character of each hall emerges both from the relationship with the outside and from the craft of its construction.
The resulting layer of context creates a network of possible installation strategies, in opposition to the neutral white box of current Chinese exhibition centres. Thus, the original human qualities of the workspace were recovered and preserved with their transformation into a new home for the biennial Wuzhen Art Festival of contemporary art.
The lighting design was developed to enhance this placemaking strategy. The exterior lighting underlines building faces, and traces the connecting lines between the halls. The interior lighting is based on a system of suspended channels that weaves through the roof trusses, providing the necessary flexible display lighting that does not impose itself on the architectural qualities of the places.
Ai Wei Wei, Maya Lin, Studio Job, Florentin Hoffman and Richard Deacon were among the thirty various international artist that displayed in the inaugural Art Festival.
Design: 2016 Construction: 2016
Books have traditionally been a repository of knowledge for everyone, yet the act of reading is a very personal, intimate experience. The relation with books started not too long ago. Before their invention and popularization, the Chinese civilization used ink rubbings to faithfully reproduce original works of art and calligraphy. The engraved, polished stone surfaces of the rubbings were the predecessors of the book pages; the most important of which were erected as steles. Without rival, the largest collection of important steles is found in the Confucius Temple in Xian. It is one of the first true “libraries.” The first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty in Xian, Qin Shi Huang, unified China and its written characters. It is also rumored that he burned books and buried scholars for political reasons – notably those of Confucius – causing the loss of many philosophical treatises of the Hundred Schools of Thought.
The inspiration for the installation, sponsored by Amazon, came originally from the large Tang dynasty (618-907 in Xian) furniture platforms where cuisine, entertainment, and the arts were elevated. We imagined a new type of platform made from a bed of books, undulating to allow for various areas of seating and lounging with today’s modern book, the Kindle. As each of the over 3,500 books that make up the bed would act as a pixel, we envisioned a mirrored image of the traditional bamboo book with the Analects of Confucius made up of the arrangement of the pixels like “e-ink.” As one comfortably lounges, a mirror suspended above the bed would make the pixelated text legible, bringing the past, present, and future together and allowing for the suspension of time in one place.
Designed for a restaurateur and his partner of several successful restaurants in New York City, this 18,400 ft2 Asian-inspired restaurant in Montgomery, New Jersey was designed to accommodate clientele of the wealthy suburban enclave near Princeton during extended hours of operation from lunch to late night dining.
The program called for a reception dining area with a large sushi bar, a lounge area for drinks and informal dining for younger trendy patrons and a large dining room that would accommodate families as well as a mix of older and young clientele. A variety of seating arrangements in the main dining hall was designed to give a varied dining experience as well as two private dining areas to accommodate parties and gatherings for recurring customers.
Design: 2014 Construction: 2014 Area: 800 ft2
The first brick-and-mortar outpost for the New York Times rated No. 1 Ramen, Mu Ramen is situated on the fast-growing edge of Long Island City. The primary design challenge commissioned by chef/client Joshua Smookler for the 800 ft2 restaurant was for the guests to feel as if they were eating in the dining room within Joshua and Heidi Smookler’s own home. To achieve this, an open plan with a single communal table and a bar counter separating the kitchen and the dining area was designed to seat only 22 guests to be served directly by the chefs.
While keeping the existing brick wall of the previous tenant, the warm and inviting atmosphere is comprised of dark reclaimed wood millwork and exposed incandescent Edison bulb fixtures. Through the subtle shifts of the table tops in plan and elevation, the communal table becomes a central feature within the space while allowing guests separation and privacy. In conjunction, 50 curvilinear wood ceiling fins flow around kelp inspired pendant lights hanging in dialog over the communal table. With the use of a simple parametric algorithm, the curvature of these fins were generated based on the proximity to the pendant lights, giving an organic presence and visually directing focus towards the kitchen area to the performance of the food preparation.
As the client requested no visible signage on the exterior of the restaurant, a single lighting fixture element was designed as a symbol to the passerby. The fixture form is generated from the Japanese Hiragana Mu character, parametrically distorted in layers in the Z-direction for a fluid extrusion. This extrusion was then sliced radially into fins to tie into the language of the interior ceiling. From below, the original Mu character remains visible, but from the side, the lamp appears as a wavy volume. The physical lamp is constructed of laser-cut aluminum and a duochrome LED bulb changing from white to red, reflecting the change to a late night menu of meticulously prepared izakaya inspired creations to be finished with a bowl of the client’s award-winning savory ramen.
Shanghai Stock Exchange
Shanghai Stock Exchange
Design: 2013 Construction: 2014 Area: 3,600 m2
The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Tower was built in 1997, with a 3,600 square meter column-less trading floor, containing 1,810 trading seats, it was once the biggest trading floor in Asia. In order to meet the new demands of the changing global marketplace, the transition to online trading and the limited need for physical trading space, OLI was tasked with the renovation of the SSE trading floor.
New functions were programmed to be overlaid on the existing framework, paramount to the client demands was the addition of a platform for IPO ceremonies. Additional program integrated to the renovated central trading hall were a large meeting space for publicly traded companies, a market investigation and oversight area and increased media seating with direct views of sight ringing the periphery. A transformed section of the original trading seats, a portion of which was requested to be saved, was integrated as stock trading and investor education areas. Above the Central Trading Hall, the areas to the north and south on the mezzanine, originally located behind the trading monitor, was transformed into conference rooms and state of the art live-broadcast platforms. The renovated VIP floor, one floor above, holds VIP meeting rooms and a museum dedicated to the history of the SSE.
The specialty market trading area in the northern section of the hall makes use of a similar design language, connecting the trading and oversight area with a glass volume formed in the traditional Chinese character for the number “eight.” The Chinese pronunciation of the number eight resembles the word “flourish,” implying a sense of prosperity for the market.
The glass cylinder market investigation and oversight area in the southern section of the central trading hall, with illuminated glass flooring and a news ticker displaying up to date market data, through its physical transparency, symbolizes market openness.