Last edited 23 Oct 2017

Cradle Towers

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In February 2017, London-based architects Tonkin Liu revealed their competition-winning proposal for a new Trade Centre in Zhengzhou, east-central China.

Cradle Towers comprises five towers that swoop out of a ring-shaped podium. The design is inspired by the nearby Songshan mountain range, and is intended to celebrate the city’s origins in a high-tech way.

The complex is a mixed-use development of residential, offices and hotels. Vertical courtyards bring natural daylight into the deep plan at the base of the towers and establish vertical gardens up their inside faces.

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At the micro-scale the glass façades are fitted with a responsive skin that accommodates the conflicting requirements of programme, solar shading, and privacy. At a macro-scale it has a gradation upwards from dark to light, establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky.

A fluid landscape spills out of the cradle and under the lifted podium ring, connecting the vast inner courtyard to the wider city sprawling beyond. At the peak of each tower a roof-top glass house simultaneously screens the mechanical plant and ‘greens’ the skyline.

Images and content courtesy of Tonkin Liu.

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