Beijing has the big underpants, and Shanghai has its scary-tall towers, and now southern supercity Guangzhou hopes to build its own architectural landmark with a set of towers which appear to spell out “100” or (001 depending on where you view them from).
When completed in 2018 “The Window of Guangzhou” which is located along the banks of the Pearl River, will consist of three stand-alone office buildings, with two of the structures resembling huge “O” shapes and third tower a 208-metre tall obelisk.
The unusual design, which will be developed from concept through the extended preliminary design stage by UK-based consultancy Atkins, is meant to resemble the numerals “001,” if viewed from across the river. The number is said by the designers to symbolise Guangzhou’s status as the first Chinese city to open for international trading as part of the ancient Silk Road centuries ago, as well as its status as the pioneer of China’s economic liberalisation in the late 1970s.
Shu Guang, project director at CCCC, said of the project, “Atkins’ design concept demonstrates the importance of Guangzhou as a gateway to China for the world. The window-shaped buildings promote the city’s image as an important location for China’s import and export business.”
Of course, if viewed from the opposite side, the triplet of towers could resemble the number 100, which could be said to symbolise the largest denomination of paper currency currently available in China.
Atkins design proposal was selected by builder China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to provide architecture for the state-run conglomerate’s project. This is the initial business cooperation between the two companies, although they did sign a memorandum of understanding for global strategic cooperation in April of this year.
In February of this year, Atkins together with China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute (CSWADI), won a contract for the conceptual planning and terminal design of a new airport in Qingdao.