Embedded in a landscape of wooded hills, the head office of the second largest Chinese power network operator has been created in the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou. The campus, which has been designed by the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), places the architecture at the heart of nature: the buildings—some of which feature an atrium—have been developed to LEED sustainability standard and create a sequence of landscaped plazas and atriums, which are linked via bridges and footpaths.
In addition to achieving LEED NC Gold certification for the main and conference buildings, the new campus of CSG China Southern Power Grid was awarded first prize in the category of Excellent Engineering Design 2018 in Guangzhou. The project is located in the Huangpu district and is part of Guangzhou Science City. The eight buildings are spread out along the elongated plot at the foot of the Zhu Mountain. All buildings have been developed on the basis of a square footprint.
The clearly discernible and unifying conceptual design of the buildings consists of a solid plinth, a transparent joint, and the building volumes themselves that seem to be floating above. The appearance of the multi-layered facades is dominated by the lightcolored, vertical gran-ite uprights. They form the conceptual leitmotif, combining several stories into one unit, and—on account of their depth—also function as solar shading. Behind the uprights, the curtain wall provides the thermal enve-lope which, with its anthracite-colored construction, creates a contrast to the light-colored natural stone. The choice of materials is continued in the interior, creating a flowing transition from the outside into the buildings and between the different functions on the campus.
The main access to the campus leads from Kexiang Road in the south via ramps and a large flight of steps to the largest of the atrium buildings. Owing to its slighly set-back position, a large forecourt is created in front of the main building. Reflective water features guide people to the inner courtyard, half of which is protected by a glass roof and forms an entrance hall. To the west, with direct access from Xianshan Road, lies the conference center, which accommodates an auditorium with 600 seats and additional exhibition and events facilities.
The building opposite serves as the central archive for all of the company’s institutions located in Guangzhou. Two further atrium buildings to the east of the main building accommodate offices and research and logistics facilities. Together with the canteen building at the slope, they form the central area of the precinct, which features a number of courtyards sunk into the ground. To the east the campus features sports facilities and an apartment building for members of staff and visiting guests.