Project DescriptionLocated in Zhongguancun Science Park, a technology hub often referred as ‘China’s Silicon Valley’ in the northwestern part of Beijing, China, Sina Plaza held its Completion Ceremony on 9 May 2016. As the design architect of the project, Aedas was invited to join the ceremony. Ken Wai, Aedas’ Global Board Director and the project designer of Sina Plaza, shared the design concept in the ceremony.
Sina Plaza is the principal office in China for Sina Corporation, a Nasdaq listed company that operates Sina.com and Weibo social platform and has more than 85 million unique users per day. ‘Limitless’ is the core concept of the design as advances in media technology and information flow have opened up unlimited opportunities in the digital world. The building reflects the infinity symbol ‘∞’ to express this concept of ‘limitless’.
The building reflects the infinity symbol ‘∞’. Drawing from the Chinese architectural heritage of courtyards, the building frames two major open courtyard gardens for the users. At the centre of the building is the main entrance and a focal point – the ‘Eye of Sina’ – an atrium space that serves as the main vertical circulation hub and features a 12-metre high conical media screen which displays current media information by Sina.com and Weibo.
Vertical circulations and servicing cores are located at the four corners of the building and connected by the central atrium. The internal circulation route resembles the infinity symbol which allows users to commute efficiently from one end of the building to the other. Walking to the opposite corner of the building requires no more than two minutes.
Although the architectural form is rectilinear, the architectural moves religiously follow a special design discipline. The form was squeezed, kneaded and pinched to express entrances, balconies, special double height workspaces and skylights.
The company values its staff and this headquarters building features not only office spaces, TV studios and R&D facilities that are essential for work, but also a series of staff amenities to ensure a healthy and efficient working environment, including a fitness centre, shower rooms, a library, a staff canteen, self-served pantries, a clinic and baby feeding rooms.
The north entrance serves as a formal and main entrance for visitors. The entrance is denoted by a massive curved canopy which is formed as part of a continuous gesture of the horizontal lines characterised in architectural language. Upon entry, the lobby space opens up into the main atrium, also known as the ‘Eye of Sina’, which serves as the main vertical circulation hub connecting all levels within the building with stairs, escalators and lifts. Immediately adjacent to the north entrance lobby is a conference centre with meeting rooms. This level also comprises a staff fitness centre, recreation rooms and an exhibition area leading to the outdoor areas on the east and south of the building.
Level 3 to 5 are the general office areas include staff training areas and collaboration spaces at each end of the building facing the internal courtyards. These levels also comprise open relaxation zones equipped with self-service pantries and softly furnish ‘chill out’ areas. Level B1 houses TV studios and interview rooms along with a 200-seat auditorium, a 1,300-seat staff canteen and sunken courtyards that connect the canteen with the main atrium.
The development is targeted to be a green and user friendly headquarters building, in alignment with the philosophy of this major international online media company. It has received a Pre-certified LEED Platinum rating. Optimised building orientation is crucial to minimise solar heat gain and maximise natural ventilation. Penetration of daylight especially in the lobby and peripheral office spaces can greatly reduce the amount of energy used for artificial lighting. The skylight also helps light up the corridor on the top level. Double Low-E glass is applied to minimise cooling energy consumption, while external shading fins are carefully used to provide effective shading to the building envelope.