On the site of a now-closed urban airport in Guangzhou, China, a new building designed by London-based Zaha Hadid Architects is called Infinitus Plaza. It’s the new global headquarters of Infinitus China, and it was built with over 25 tons of recycled materials.
Incorporating work environments designed to nurture connectivity, creativity and entrepreneurship, the new headquarters also includes the group’s herbal medicine research facilities and safety assessment labs as well as a learning centre for conferences and exhibitions.
Built on the site of the decommissioned Baiyun Airport, the new district links Guangzhou’s city centre with Feixiang Gongyuan Park and the new communities within the former airport’s redevelopment.
Located adjacent to Feixiang Park Station on Line 2 of the Guangzhou Metro, Infinitus Plaza straddles the metro’s sub-surface tunnel, dividing the headquarters into two buildings that interconnect at multiple levels.
Establishing collaborative work spaces that are healthier and more adaptive to new ways of working, Infinitus Plaza is designed over eight stories as a series of infinite rings that enhance interaction and communication between all departments.
Arranged around central atria and courtyards, echoing the symbol for infinity “∞”, the design creates a variety of shared indoor and outdoor spaces that build the strong sense of community (Si Li Ji Ren) which defines Infinitus’ corporate culture.
The interconnecting bridges house a variety of flexible communal spaces for employees that promote individual and overall wellness including gym and exercise rooms, recreation and relaxation zones as well as restaurant and cafe.
The bridges also connect the plaza’s offices with further shopping and dining areas.
Situated within Guangzhou’s humid subtropical monsoon climate, Infinitus Plaza has been designed and constructed to LEED Gold certification and the equivalent 3-Stars of China’s Green Building Program with its life cycle carbon emissions calculated at 15.3% embodied carbon and at 84.7% operational carbon emissions.
Optimization of the structure has reduced the amount of concrete required and increased the proportion of recyclable content. 25,088.33 tons of recycled materials have been used in the construction of Infinitus Plaza, primarily: steel, copper, glass, aluminum alloy profiles, gypsum products and wood.
Annual solar irradiation analysis has determined the width of the outdoor terraces to self-shade the building. This analysis has also defined the external perforated aluminum shading panels to optimize reductions in solar heat gain.
These measures, together with double-insulated low-E glazing provide effective shading and heat insulation that ensures good natural light throughout the building while reducing solar heat gain and energy consumption.
Operated by the building’s smart management system and powered by photovoltaics, a network of sprinklers spray atomized particles of collected rainwater onto the ETFE membrane roof above each atrium to dissipate heat by evaporative cooling. This translucent, double-layered ETFE membrane roof incorporates a 60cm cavity of compressed air.
Activated when the membrane’s exterior surface is heated to 35°C by solar radiation, spraying for 3- 4 minutes every half an hour will cool its surface temperature by 14°C, effectively lowering interior temperatures by 5°C. The rooftop solar water heating further reduces energy requirements.
The project’s system of rainwater collection, filtration, and reuse also supplies micro-irrigation to the surrounding landscaping. The gardens on the roof of the 3rd, 7th, and 8th floors grow herbs and plants native to the region and are naturally irrigated. These outdoor communal areas are linked together with the rooftop jogging track and walking paths. Green roofs comprise 49.36% of the project’s total roof area.
Equipped to monitor temperature, carbon dioxide, PM2.5 particulates, and other pollutants, the building’s smart management system with fresh air linkage ensures indoor air quality, detecting the level of occupancy and automatically adjusting for optimal comfort with minimal energy consumption while also learning to accurately predict daily occupancy trends for increased efficiencies.
Anchoring Guangzhou’s new Baiyun Central Business District as a national centre for China’s health and wellness industries, Infinitus China’s new headquarters combines innovative design and construction technologies with proven sustainability strategies to create new work environments that unite all departments and enhance communication throughout the group.
All images are courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.