Modern office design for vip.com

After a construction period of four years, the new headquarters of the vip.com online corporation in the Guangzhou metropolis in southern China was handed over.

The office complex, developed by gmp von Ger- kan, Marg and Partners Architects, consists of an office landscape in horizontal layers for the different func- tions stacked on a plinth. Two slender towers rising up from the plinth structure add a strong vertical accent.

vip.com is one of the three largest e-commerce corporations in China. The new headquarters of the continu- ally growing corporation is located in the so-called Internet Innovation Zone of Guangzhou’s Pazhou District, an island in the Pearl River to the south-east of the city center. This area, which is connected to the Kanton Trade Exhibition precinct, has been specially designated as a new commercial and service area for internet companies, featuring also leisure facilities. In 2016, gmp had won the international competition and was then commissioned with the project.

vip.com’s company culture is characterized by dynamism and flat hierarchies. In terms of architecture, this calls for large flexible areas that can be used in a variety of ways and modified very quickly, thus allowing for different forms of office organization. Contrary to the urban design brief, which called for separate high-rise buildings on the three plots separated by roads, the gmp concept for the company headquarters was for a horizontally layered office landscape. A ten-story plinth connects all three building plots of the angular site, straddling the respective roads. On this basis, the overall volume and the arrangement of the vertical circu- lation systems were developed with the aim of creating a maximum of office spaces with attractive views across the river and city.

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The different functional areas of the building are visually layered, separated by vertical incisions and floors with special functions appearing as joints. The first of these incisions at the fourth building level marks the interface between external and internal functions. It serves as a meeting space for guests and employees and includes a conference center, exhibition areas, and gastronomic facilities. Wide staircases from a public platform in front of the building, facing the Pearl River, connect it to the riverbank as well as to the park to the east. The two slender towers, measuring 135.5 meters and 172.5 meters in height, rise from the building plinth and house more offices as well as the administration and the management.

The office zones for the different company teams are accommodated in the horizontal plinth building, featur- ing spacious floor areas which can be flexibly adapted to changing requirements. Natural ventilation at the workplaces is made possible via openable windows. Multistory foyers and large stairwells between the floors create a vertical link between the office areas and can also be used for lectures and multi-team conventions. Each office floor is equipped with kitchenettes, sleeping pods, a library, and fitness facilities as places for informal employee get-togethers. In their breaks and after work, employees and guests of vip.com can enjoy a view across the Pearl River from the large roof terrace on the plinth, which features an infinity pool, a bas- ketball court, and a barbecue area exclusively for members of staff and guests.

The deliberately plain, horizontally-structured facades with floor-to-ceiling glazing give the office complex a unified appearance, which means that the headquarters can be recognized from afar and identified as the new address of the vip.com online corporation. The horizontal layering is emphasized at night when lighting strips integrated in the facade profiles light up the building.

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