The vase-like form of CITIC Tower

October 21, 2019

The design of the CITIC Tower, Beijing, China, is inspired by the Chinese zun.  Image courtesy KPF[1]
The design of the CITIC Tower, Beijing, China, is inspired by the Chinese zun.
Image courtesy KPF

Designed by KPF[2], the 528-m (1732-ft) CITIC Tower is Beijing’s tallest building, and the eighth tallest worldwide.

CITIC Tower’s design draws inspiration from the ‘zun,’ a ritual vessel originating in Bronze Age China. In profile, the tower abstracts and refines the zun’s vase-like form, balancing composition and articulation with structural requirements and leasing depth needs. In plan, the building is square with rounded corners; its width transforms vertically from its 78-m (256-ft) wide base to its 54-m (177-ft) wide ‘waist’ to its 69-m (226-ft) wide top. Broader at its base than its crown, the tower combines its iconography with infrastructure that supports the building’s integrity in China’s greatest seismic zone.

“Imagining the city’s tallest tower as a representation of its history and people, we approached the building as a public entity in our design,” said Robert Whitlock, the project’s design principal. “The curtain wall, a light and delicate layer, folds out at the base and signals the building’s various entry points. It appears to float above the ground plane, evoking the human scale and activity that occurs at its base and ultimately promoting public engagement with the architecture and the district on a whole. This synchrony of tower and landscape, coupled with its simple, sculptural form, define CITIC Tower.”

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: https://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Beijin.jpg
  2. KPF: https://www.kpf.com/

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