The proposed solution consists of two volumes articulated interdependently, two very different volumes each with its own expressed identity while at the same time with complementary and formal architectonic elements and spaces which are used to create a clear interrelation. The 180 metre high tower is actually a set of three interknitted vertical elements. It consists of two identical and separated floor plans arranged symmetrically about a central nucleus. This arrangement enables three immediate advantages:
• A more compact plan to maximise the façade to floor area ratio, optimising the natural illumination into the centre of the floor plan;
• The provision of natural cross-flow ventilation to all of the office areas;
• Flexibility in office subdivision arrangements, facilitating departmental zoning or attractive smaller office units for leasing (the typical office floors have 650m2 of utilisable office space in each wing, a total of 1.300m2 on each floor, with possible subdivisions of units of between 235m2 and 415m2 each with direct reception and lift-lobby presence). Apart from the nuclei, the central zone between the two towers is occupied by community space; gardens in triple-height atriums linked by open stairs. These winter-house-like gardens act as spaces for relaxation or activity: rest, lunch, socialising and meeting, as well as serving to adapt the comfort of the interior spaces without the use of energy, by insulating the interior from the exterior, acting as passive transition zones of climate control.
Furthermore the presence of mature trees and other plants in these intermediary spaces offer privacy between facing offices, while giving them a common space to share and value: these façades are by no means ‘rear’ facades, rather the garden façades, offering an attractive place to work.
This solution proposes a very well proportioned nucleus and series of intermediate spaces. The positive effects of the central location of the nucleus are:
• Reduced circulation space and time between all points of the building, eliminating common passages, and shortened escape distances to create a safer work environment.
• The physical separation of the enclosed and protected emergency stairs from the rest of the plan, with these duplicated to always offer the occupiers an alternative emergency exit.
• The elimination of the central space that would potentially be the darkest lit and therefore least desirable in an office floor with perimeter nuclei.
• Structurally the reinforced concrete construction of the symmetrical, four- box nucleus acts as an anchor at the centre of inertia of the symmetrical plan, thereby incorporating two fundamentally important concepts in an area of seismic risk: a centred centre of inertia and a symmetrical plan. The park setting means all residents have an alternative garden walk linking the houses to the public amenities and doubling as a shared park-like area for relaxing and socialising. So as to make the park continuous and avoid the one, inevitable pedestrian road crossing, the recreational centre is located on this central crossing point, and doubles as a road bridge and pedestrian tunnel. A landscape project as much as it is architecture, this octagonal star shaped plan has ramped arms and a totally green roof, over which passes the road uninterrupted. The lateral façades of the eight arms are transparent and translucent panels, where the entrances of the recreational spaces or sub-road pass are located.
The other public building is the commercial centre, located along the southern edge of the site to provide a sound and privacy barrier between the road and the residential zone, and to promote itself to the public: many of the tenant stores or business can have street presence with signage, etc. visible from the road. This long two-storey commercial shopping mall is punctuated by a series of long light wells along its longitudinal axis, coinciding with the interior pedestrian street. Restaurant and café terraces open out towards the residential park, from where resident could have direct access.