BIG imagines a looped courtscraper for Oppo’s R&D headquarters in China

Settled between a lake, an urban centre, and a 10,000 sqm park at the heart of Yuhang District, the tower will provide an integrated public space revolving around a courtyard.

by STIRworldPublished on : Apr 22, 2021

Bjarke Ingels Group has designed new R&D headquarters in Hangzhou for Chinese consumer electronics and mobile communications giant, Oppo. Imagined as a fluid, looping O-shaped courtyard tower that almost resembles a glimmering Mobius strip, the building delivers an impressive architectural statement that reflects Oppo's core values of striving towards sustainability and aiming for perfection to contribute to a better world. As an anchoring landmark along a major road that stretches from east to west in the city, the Danish firm intends for O-tower to become an icon of Hangzhou and a gateway to its Future Sci-Tech City development.

The O-Tower will become an iconic landmark and gateway towards the historic city | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
The O-Tower is to become an iconic landmark and gateway towards the historic city Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

Oppo has grown at a startling pace since its founding in 2004 to become China's current largest smartphone company. As a testament to the company's ethos of “endless innovation in the pursuit of perfection”, O-Tower is settled between a natural lake, an urban centre, and a 10,000 sqm park within its surrounding context of Future Sci-Tech City at the heart of Yuhang District. 

The building rests between a natural lake, an urban centre, and a 10,000 sqm park | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
The building rests between a natural lake, an urban centre, and a 10,000 sqm park Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

In Hangzhou, Oppo has a setting rich in cultural and historical value, shaped by technology, trade, and information exchange for over 5,000 years, through its role as one of the points of origin for both the ancient Silk Route and Grand Canal. Home to three of China’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city is a prominent tourist attraction colloquially known as 'Heaven on Earth’.  

To maximise daylight and provide unrestricted views, the facade’s southern edge was pushed downwards | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
To maximise daylight and provide unrestricted views, the facade’s southern edge was pushed downwards Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

Copenhagen-based Bjarke Ingels Group commenced work on the research and development office and local urban masterplan back in 2019. Throughout the design process, they sought to optimise workspaces and energy efficiency by maximising daylight. For this purpose, the Danish firm pushed the building's southern edge downwards to provide unhindered exterior views and permit higher levels of solar illumination indoors.

The subsequent visually striking looped form is centered on a courtyard | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
The subsequent visually striking looped form is centered on a courtyard Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

The resultant visually striking looped form, centered on a courtyard enclosed by the structure's rising cylindrical massing, embraces Oppo's endeavour to elevate life through 'technical artistry’. Its unique geometry is a self-shading adaptation of BIG's 'courtscraper' concept and a reference to the organisation's name branding. Additionally, the facade's glazed skin, screened by a system of adaptive louvres arranged in accordance with sun angles, reduces solar gain by up to half its original value while restricting glare, light pollution, and energy consumption.

The facade’s glazed skin is screened by a system of adaptive louvres | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
The facade’s glazed skin is screened by a system of adaptive louvres Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

At the ground level, the tower's programme revolves around the central courtyard that expands into the waterfront through lush, landscaped areas while ushering visitors towards interlinked lobbies, exhibition spaces, or directly into the nearby park.

At the ground level, the central courtyard expands into the waterfront and guides visitors towards lobbies, exhibition areas, and the nearby park | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
At the ground level, the central courtyard expands into the waterfront and guides visitors towards lobbies, exhibition areas, and the nearby park Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

A spectacular view of the Hangzhou sky reveals itself through an oculus-like opening in the tower’s shell framed by its cylindrical form ascending around the courtyard’s periphery. This zone obscures the barriers between public and private space and provides a distinct urban recreational area, visually integrated into the building's lower levels.

  • A spectacular view of the sky above Hangzhou reveals itself from the courtyard | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    A spectacular view of the sky above Hangzhou reveals itself from the courtyard Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Blurring boundaries between public and private space to provide a distinct urban recreational area | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Blurring boundaries between public and private space to provide a distinct urban recreational area Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

The first three levels are set aside for public programming, with conference centres, exhibition spaces, a canteen, and an incubator for external workshops. Floor plates vary according to the facade profiles of the tower's various sections and their functional programming. Middle floors will have flexible floor plates ranging from larger ones for Oppo's R&D departments and special projects to smaller, conventionally-sized versions for administrative and executive zones.

  • Triple height voids and linked terraces provide visual links between levels under the sloped roof | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Triple height voids and linked terraces provide visual links between levels under the sloped roof Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Indoor landscaped pockets are periodically interspersed across levels | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Indoor landscaped pockets are periodically interspersed across levels Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

Triple-height voids and linked terraces under the sloped ceilings of the O-ring provide visual connectivity between levels, with biophilic interior design elements periodically interspersed. Higher floors host a dedicated Oppo canteen along with VIP lounges that furnish panoramic views of the nearby wetlands.

The upper level has panoramic views of the wetlands from within its VIP lounges | Oppo R&D Headquarters by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
The upper level has panoramic views of the wetlands from within its VIP lounges Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG is currently also engaged in designing an AI City masterplan for Terminus Group in Chongqing, China and Toyota’s Woven City Development in Japan while collaborating with ICON and Search+ to develop 3D printed homes on the Moon under Project Olympus.

Project Details

Name: OPPO R&D Headquarters
Location: Hangzhou, China
Program: Commercial
Status: Concept
Size: 161330 sq. m.
Type: Office, Retail and Masterplan
Client: OPPO

(Text by Jerry Joe Elengical, intern at STIRworld.com)

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