The Suzhou Modern Media Plaza is a multi-use complex that houses the headquarters of the Suzhou Broadcast Station as well as offices, shops, the Hilton Hotel, and a public square. Suzhou Broadcast Station envisioned a new development that would be an iconic landmark in Suzhou, with a unique façade that would embody the city’s colourful heritage as well as its rapid modernisation. To bring to life this unique facade, Aurecon was engaged to provide full façade design services.
Aurecon collaborated closely with Nikken Sekkei Ltd, the project’s architect, on the design of the towers’ curtain walls and the podium’s curved-glass roof, aiming to recreate the traditional expressions and familiar aesthetics of Suzhou’s building materials with modern elements. Through Aurecon’s smart engineering, cultural heritage and modern innovation are entwined throughout the Plaza, especially in the pair of prominent L-shaped towers.
The first of these towers is a 200-metre high international Grade A office building, serving as the new headquarters of Suzhou Broadcast Station. Class unit curtain walls hang on the outside of the structure, while the metal frame curtain wall window system is installed between the structure’s layers; this creates a distinctive effect which calls to mind the architectural heritage of Suzhou’s traditional windows. The glass walls also reflect natural light multiple times, creating a multivariate effect of overlapping light and shadow to further lend a futuristic appeal to the structure’s traditional feel.
The second tower, housing the Hilton Hotel, was fashioned with a unique double-layer curtain wall design. The dark grey perforated plate on the outer surface softly refracts light into the 150-metre tall building’s interior, while echoing the distinctive Suzhou white walls and black tiles with a modern twist: the hollow honeycomb glass design is almost organic, resembling the walls of a huge bee hive.
When designing this exceptional facade, Aurecon had to seamlessly blend the different materials that make up the curtain walls. This design required multiple transition nodes between the curtain wall systems, and each of them had distinct stress points that required meticulous attention to detail. Aurecon’s engineers diligently designed each node with particularly careful consideration given to the tolerances of the different materials.
A multi-purpose public plaza connects the two towers, and its canopy is an M-shaped truss fabricated from glass. Calling to mind the gracefulness and femininity of Suzhou silk, the curved form adopts a steel structure and cold-curved glass that reinforces the Plaza’s symbolism of entwining modernity and history.
Completed in 2016, Suzhou Modern Media Plaza is located in Hudong, Suzhou Industrial Park. It covers an area of about 37 746.21 m2, with a total floor area of 220 000 m2 and a ground floor of about 100 000 m2. At a height of 214.8 m, it is one of the tallest buildings in the city, offering its tenants a bird’s-eye view of Suzhou Industrial park, as well as the gardens and canals that decorate the area.
For its ingenious and iconic overall design, the project was awarded the first prize of ASC Awards for Architecture 2017–2018.