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Shenzhen’s new Institute of Design will be a 700-metre "groundscraper"

Tim Gibson

04 June 2021


Shenzhen’s new Institute of Design and Innovation has been revealed to be a 700-metre long "groundscraper".

The project is designed by French architect Dominique Perrault Architecture and Chinese firm Zhubo Design. Together with UK consulting engineer BuroHappold, the firms won an international competition to oversee the project.

The project’s extreme horizontal form was chosen to protect views of the neighbouring mountains, creating a relationship between the learning spaces and the environment that's less dominating than other structures. 

The building’s shape is also inspired by the Chinese character for “yi”, a straight line meaning “one”.

Alluding to this, the building is raised on stilts, appearing to float above the ground.

Above: The building's design seeks to be in harmony with the surrounding environment. Image courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture.

This layout also neatly organises the campus departments while ensuring each one has ample space.

The building is divided into two main elements. The “Hyper Ground” contains all the university’s services and gathering places as well as a pedestrian promenade with a variety of public spaces. There is also a library, auditorium and exhibition hall.

The “Hyper Roof” contains green spaces and sports areas as well as rainwater management systems and photovoltaic panels which will power the entire building.

The campus itself is part of a larger project to build the Southern University of Science and Technology which will cater to more than 4,000 students.

Above: The library will be housed underneath a huge dome. Image courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture.

The university represents a bold new experiment in higher education reform for China, a plan that aims to attract prestigious researchers from across the globe.

Shenzhen has seen a number of high profile architectural projects in recent months, including ten new cultural facilities designed by leading international architects.

The city is also set to welcome two new supertall skyscrapers designed by Zaha Hadid Architects that will form part of a financial super base and dramatically change the city’s skyline.


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