When Buildings Become a Genetic Exploration
Steven Holl Architects’s latest design for the headquarters of genome machine intelligence company iCarbonX in Shenzhen is inspired by a study of genes and DNA.
The form of the two towers is influenced by the structure of DNA. The first tower, ‘Body A’ is residential, while the second, ‘Body B’ is the working programme, with offices, labs, and public reception spaces. ICarbonX’s mission in unfolding information is reflected through the building’s design.
Body A, a 150m residential tower, is the Living element. Body B, a 200m tower with offices, labs, and public reception spaces, is the Working element. Four green bridges act as carbon bonds, joining the towers. The two upper bridges contain the health programme, joining a health and nutrition circuit with cafes, a gym, and a swimming pool. The two lower bridges join to form public outreach spaces, a clinic, galleries, and meeting spaces. The iCarbonX Clinic is the central element that anchors the living and working towers, supporting ICX’s mission to apply science to daily life.
A curtain wall of fritted glass with varying translucencies provides tailored shade to the building’s exposures and light conditions. Curvilinear geometry shapes the ground-level public space with water gardens and a central recycled-water “Pool of Knowledge”. The public space is partially embedded in the ground, and the pool’s continuously circulating water masks the sounds of the city, creating a peaceful, protected space. ICarbonX is in design and foundation construction is set for Fall 2019.
Photo credits – Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
By Aarti Mohan