Renzo Piano / Vertical greenery

Renzo Piano Building Workshop is currently working, in collaboration with Greentown Orient Architects (Hangzhou), on a large scale project in China that will see a barren brown field site transformed into the headquarters of apparel brand JNBY. The site for the new JNBY Headquarters is a significant part of a “superblock” that makes up the urban fabric of the city of Hangzhou. The superblocks in Hangzhou, and like many other new areas in China, are semi private gated communities approximately 500 meters by 500 meters. They are surrounded by heavily trafficked six lane roads lined with impenetrable six to ten story buildings. This barren “brown field” site for the JNBY Headquarters is a notched trapezoid shape about 260 m x 175 m wide oriented roughly in the north south direction. A significant aspect of this site is that it is bordered on the south by a lush green park on the Yan Shan River.

The concept of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop is defined by placing the majority of the program around the site’s perimeter in order to create a large protected green space. This park contains an open plaza, encouraging workers to congregate and spend time outdoors. The structures surrounding the piazza are permeable for pedestrian access, while the lobbies and retail spaces of each building are oriented inwards towards the public square.


Green planted façades face the centrally positioned park, while other elevations are a combination of fritted glass, aluminum panels and architectural concrete. Hangzhou’s subtropical climate is favorable for vertical gardens, while the vegetation also helps in reducing the visual massing of the built form.


Furthermore, motorized sunshades provide sufficient shading to allow for large IGU’s composed of low-iron glass with a low-e coating. This combination is ideal for improved thermal performance, optimum control of natural light and excellent color rendition within the internal spaces. Plantation is continued across the scheme’s terraces and roofs, with Chinese tea species planted throughout.

image © RPBW

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