Recently, a giant steel and glass doughnut emerged in the north-east part of Beijing; it is the Phoenix International Media Center, a multipurpose project designed by Beijing-based practice BIAD UFo. The owner, Phoenix Satellite TV, is one of the biggest media companies in China. This ongoing project is due to complete in 2012.
This doughnut-shaped structure positioned within the Chaoyang Park at the site of the beach volleyball events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Covering 18,822 sq m, the total floor area of the building is 65,000 sq m with a height of 55m.
Within the ‘giant doughnut’, there are two independent office towers. The taller one is positioned at south and will house media and production offices as well as a number of broadcasting studios, while the lower one will house restaurants and shops. The interior also provides an abundance of open space for the public to gain interactive experiences.
Between the two towers in the east and west parts of the shared public spaces there are undulating promenades, platforms, sky ramps and crossing escalators which create vibrant and dynamic spaces. The 30m-high, cone-shaped atrium generates the chimney effect, circulating natural air throughout the building and saving a great deal of energy.
The undulating and fluid exterior is generated with a double layer of swirling steel structural system, which supports the glass curtain wall bringing ambient light into the interior as well as maintaining a visual connection with the adjacent Chaoyang Park.
The elevation difference between the southern and northern internal spaces is able to bring quality of sunlight, ventilation and landscape view throughout the building, meanwhile protecting the broadcasting rooms from glare and excess noise. In addition, the elevation difference also avoids blocking the sunshine to the residential building to the north-west direction.
Further more, this project applied a lot of energy efficiency concepts. Rather than setting drain pipes on the smooth surface, the steel structural rib was used to collect and channel rainwater into a collection tank which is located at the bottom of the building. After being filtered, the rainwater will be distributed into the surrounding water features and landscape.
Other than the striking viral effect of the architectural shape, the smooth surface and round shape also help mitigate the severe street wind effects, which present challenges for other high-rise buildings during Beijing’s windy winter time. Meanwhile, the exterior glass shell served as a giant greenhouse created a climate buffer space for the internal buildings and maintains comfortable temperatures within the building in winter and summer. The end result is a fully sustainable building that actually helps reduce the impact of the surrounding city.