MVRDV reveals smart city district for Tencent headquarters in Shenzhen, China

The proposal for the new base campus for the Chinese tech giant Tencent features a waterfront park and over 100 buildings with undulating solar roofs and connecting bridges.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Jan 17, 2020

MVRDV has revealed its competition entry for the design of Tencent’s new headquarters campus in Shenzhen, China. The project, set in the scenic Qianhai Bay, is the proposed second home of the Chinese tech giant after the Tencent Seafront Towers in the local Nanshan District that opened in 2017.

An aerial view of the proposed Tencent Campus set in the scenic Qianhai Bay  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
An aerial view of the proposed Tencent Campus set in the scenic Qianhai Bay Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG

The ambitious proposal of the new headquarters aims to address the meteoric growth of the company, which is globally known for its premiere services in sectors such as social network, music, web portals, e-commerce and mobile games.

The 133-hectare site is conceived as a grid comprising over 100 buildings, topped by undulating solar roofs that create silvery swirls in the skyline. The buildings are connected via continuous multiple bridges that create an image of a metallic mountain range.

Over 100 buildings within the masterplan feature undulating solar roofs   | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
Over 100 buildings within the masterplan feature undulating solar roofs Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG

Various public buildings dot the masterplan. These include a conference centre - shaped like a massive rock at the foot of the hills - flanking the entrance to the bay. At the heart of the office zone is a spherical information plaza that is designed to display key data from the campus, like occupancy rates and carbon usage, to the residents. 

Smart city concept remains a key focus and is evident in the transportation strategy of the proposal. A highway along the eastern side of the site provides access to four underground parks. At the street grid, shuttle bus loops and metro lines traverse the district and connect it to the rest of Shenzhen. 

  • A waterfront park winds its way along the entire eastern side of the site | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
    A waterfront park winds its way along the entire eastern side of the site Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG
  • Sustainable diagram showing the integration of green spaces in the proposed built masses | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Sustainable diagram showing the integration of green spaces in the proposed built masses Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG

A waterfront park winds its way along the eastern edge of the site, overlooking pristine views of the Qianhai Bay. Interestingly, the verdant ground elements of the park are reciprocated at the lower levels of the buildings in the form of green terraces.

“With ubiquitous smart city elements, headlined by a futuristic data hub at the heart of the campus, Tencent employees would feel enveloped by technology,” says MVRDV founding partner, Winy Mass. At every point within the masterplan, latest urban technologies are integrated in a fine balance with nature – the serpentine park is within a short walking distance and green terraces frame beautiful spectacles.

Conference centre at the southern end of the park sits like a rock at the foot of the hill  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
Conference centre at the southern end of the park sits like a rock at the foot of the hill Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG

The architects conducted a two-year long complex research before submitting their proposal. A total of 28 different outlines were developed, every study was scripted, and ordered into a design ‘genealogy’ to arrive at an optimal layout for the modern tech campus. “The final competition entry,” adds Mass, “was a synthesis of everything learned in this iterative process, resulting in a tech campus that is diverse, flexible, green, dynamic, open, adaptable and above all, visionary.”

A view of the information plaza (right) as viewed from one of the streets  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
A view of the information plaza (right) as viewed from one of the streets Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG

The brief sought a total of two million square metres of floor space to accommodate offices for upto 100,000 employees and homes for 19,000 residents. The Netherlands-based architects have responded to it by envisioning a smart city district that focusses on the ‘user value’ aspect of technology while giving equal emphasis to living close to nature.

  • Conceptual diagram depicting the evolution of Tencent  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Conceptual study depicting the evolution of Tencent Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG
  • A flow chart illustrating 28 different outlines that are ordered into a design ‘genealogy’  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
    A flow chart illustrating 28 different outlines that are ordered into a design ‘genealogy’ Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG
  • Proposed masterplan of the project  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Proposed masterplan of the project Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG
  • Layers of the proposed masterplan  | New Tencent Headquarters Campus | MVRDV | STIRworld
    Layers of the proposed masterplan Image Credit: Courtesy of MVRDV, Atchain, Lights CG

Project Details

Name: Tencent Campus
Location: Qianhai, Shenzhen, China
Client: Tencent
Architect: MVRDV
Design Team:
Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs
Partner: Wenchian Shi
Others: Kyo Suk Lee, Marco Gazzola, Shengjie Zhan, Seul Lee, Yayun Liu, Daehee Suk, Dong Min Lee, Cosimo Scotucci, Andrius Ribikauskas, Luca Beltrame, Sen Yang
Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Francesco Vitale, Pavlos Ventouris, Kirill Emelianov, Costanza Cuccato, Giovanni Coni, Davide Calabro, Tomaso Maschietti
Sustainablity Consultancy: Peter Mensinga
Project Coordination: Jammy Zhu
Landscape Architect: Topotek 1
Engineering, transportation, climatic analysis, water management: BuroHappold Engineering
Smart Cities and Digital Strategies: Carlo Ratti Associati, Prof. IR. Elphi Nelissen (TU Eindhoven) Renewable Energy Consultancy: Samuel Op den Orth
Communication Strategy: KesselsKramer
Area: 2 million sqm
Year: 2019

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