Zaha Hadid Architects’ Infinitus Plaza in Guangzhou blurs the line between outside and in

  • Architect
    Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Facade Engineer
    Buro Happold Engineering
  • Facade Contractor
    Jangho
  • General Contractor
    Guangdong No.1 Construction Engineering
  • Local Design Institute
    GDAD
  • Structure
    RBS
  • MEP Engineer
    BIAD, GDAD
  • MEP Contractor
    Shijian
  • Landscape
    Zaha Hadid Architects, Pubang
  • Location
    Guangzhou, China
  • Completion Date
    November 2021

Just days ago on November 9, Infinitus China inaugurated Infinitus Plaza, the new global headquarters for the Chinese herbal health product manufacturer in Guangzhou. The project was built on the site of the decommissioned Baiyun Airport and links Guangzhou’s city center with Feixiang Gongyuan Park and new communities within the former airport’s redevelopment. The nearly 2-million-square-foot complex rises eight stories and includes workspaces, herbal medicine research facilities, safety assessment labs, and a learning center for conferences and exhibitions across two identical towers. The project, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), resembles the shape of an infinity symbol, fostering a sense of connectivity throughout the internal spaces and creating a number of courtyards and shared indoor/outdoor spaces at the ground level.

The clients had requested that the facade contribute to the notion of visual connectivity and fluidity throughout the project, while also allowing for privacy from the exterior. ZHA worked with facade engineers at Buro Happold to calibrate a system of perforated, double silver Low-E IGU aluminum panels to clad the unique sinuous design. The team took a diamond-shaped panel approach to the double-curved surface that cut 30 percent of construction costs when compared to curved panels.

The backing of copper colored aluminum panels
The panels are far more transparent from within than they seem on the exterior. (Liang Xue)
A copper colored facade with diamond pattern at infinitus plaza
The diamond pattern adapts to the curved form while also creating visual intrigue. (Liang Xue)

To determine the optimal size and pattern of the panel perforations, an annual solar irradiation analysis was conducted to optimize reductions in solar heat gain. These measures, together with double-insulated low-E glazing of the facade beyond, provide effective and sustainable shading and heat insulation that emits natural light throughout the building. Additionally, numerous acoustic tests were run to eliminate any potential noise generated by wind blowing through the mesh. A system of X-shaped stainless-steel connectors back the outer panels to protect the project from wind loading and other elemental stressors while creating unique external walkways around the perimeter of each tower.

A steel superstructure linking curved aluminum panels
Stainless steel cross joints anchor to the facade and create pockets of indoor/outdoor circulation. (Liang Xue)

The complex contours of Infinitus China’s new headquarters created a unique facade challenge that was further complicated by the project’s ambition to achieve LEED Gold certification and the equivalent 3-Stars of China’s Green Building Program. Through innovative design, analytical tools, and construction technologies, the team achieved a striking design that delivers a high-performance work environment to anchor Guangzhou’s new Baiyun Central Business District.