China opens skyscraper with world’s tallest atrium twisting

China has opened the Zaha Hadid Architects-designed Leeza SOHO skyscraper in Beijing, which has the world’s tallest atrium twisting through its center, at approximately 194.15m, overtaking the void in the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.

Located in the Fengtai business district, between the city center and the recently-opened Beijing Daxing International Airport to the south, the 45-storey 172,800-square-metre tower is developed by Soho China, the developer of Galaxy Soho and Wangjing Soho.

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Leeza SOHO tower

Leeza SOHO tower is positioned on a site adjacent to the business district’s rail station and straddles an underground subway service tunnel. Its position over this tunnel made the Architects decide to divide the building into two halves.

The two halves are internally connected at levels 13, 24, 35 and 45 by elevated walkways, and externally by a glass curtain façade that is double insulated, and made up of a number of glass panels that are angled to aid ventilation in order to help maintain a comfortable indoor climate in the Beijing’s variable weather conditions.

The tower is also fitted with heat recovery from exhaust air and high-efficiency pumps, water-collection facilities, grey water flushing and an insulating green roof with photovoltaic panels.

In addition, there are 2,680 bicycle parking spaces with lockers and shower facilities, alongside charging spaces for electric or hybrid cars to encourage customers to use sustainable means of transport.

An overview of the atrium

The atrium is in the space between the two halves and extends the full height of the tower, creating the world’s tallest atrium at 194.15m.

As it rises, the atrium twists by 45 degrees to appear as though the two sides of the tower are moving together “in a dynamic pas de deux”. This also aligns the tower’s upper levels with Lize Road to the north.

The dynamic shape of the atrium creates convex openings on both sides of the tower allowing natural light to enter deep into the building’s interiors and it provides varying views from each floor due to its twisting, sculptural form, creating a fantastic new civic space for Beijing.

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