The Land Rover Regional Offices in Shanghai was driven by 3 primary ideas: 1) creating a porous urban environment; 2) creating a showroom space for a car company that would, in turn, create a contrast between the scale of the buildings; and, 3) introducing a dynamic façade to achieve a building without automated systems. In realizing these goals, it became apparent that the two towers had to be in the opposite corners of the site and that the shorter pavilions had to fill in the area in-between. The façade utilized parametric tools to transform inspiration from bamboo forests into a complex frit pattern. In the end, the buildings interact dynamically with the changing atmosphere of Shanghai and are in a constant state of metamorphosis.
Located directly adjacent to the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in the Pudong section of Shanghai, the new Land Rover Headquarters makes a dynamic contribution to the urban fabric via a unique building enclosure that transforms as the cities atmosphere changes.
The broader block in which the building sits is bracketed by the busy Jiyang Rd to the east, the Chuanyang River to the north, Huangpu River to the West and the busy Middle Ring Rd to the south. The building complex itself is defined by two parallel buildings each set at diagonally opposing corners of the site. This orientation and siting allows for an open plaza running through the site that creates a strong axis connected to the sports complex to the west. The plaza is further defined by a set of low-rise retail building opening onto the central axis. These buildings are broken by walkways that connect the central plaza to the surrounding community. The showroom for Land Rover is specifically located in the north-west corner of the site in close proximity to the busy sports complex.
The organization of the two office towers is defined by a linear core that echoes the parallel arrangement of the buildings on the site with a central hallway with elevators on either side that opens to the office floors on either end. The retail spaces are defined by a smaller core containing an elevator that takes visitors to the second level and the planted garden rooftop.
The broader impact of the regional office complex is driven by the cladding system defined by an undulating pattern inspired by Chinese bamboo forests that creates a unique identity within the city. This pattern is achieved through the use of 52 unique ceramic frit glass panels that have been combined in a range of manners to achieve the striated effect. The organic feel that results balances the regularity of the plan and allows the building to change as light hits the various surfaces in different manners. This transformation is particularly present as the sun sets and the building glows from within. Achieving this unique pattern would have been impossible without the use of parametric model and digital fabrication tools. The fritted surface also plays a role in the overall energy efficiency of the building.
The vision for the building was formed early on and played a significant role in winning the commission for the project. Achieving the vision for the undulating façade pattern, however, required a great deal of testing. This involved making full-scale mockups with varying densities of frit in order to test opacity and energy performance.
Following the completion of the building, the quality of the building was sufficient to attract Land Rover as the anchor tenant of both the ground floor showroom and the office spaces above. Further, the ability of the building to transform over the course of the day and in different environmental conditions has led many people in the city to see the building as a new icon.
Finally, the urban plaza that is integrated into the surrounding city is becoming an attractive place for many to visit.