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Leeza Soho Skyscraper

The 45-storey Leeza Soho skyscraper, designed by the late Zaha Hadid in Beijing, China, contains the world’s tallest atrium twisting through its centre. Designed by the late founder of Zaha Hadid Architects before her death in 2016, the skyscraper is located in the Fengtai business district. Commissioned by Soho China, the developer of Galaxy Soho and Wangjing Soho, the Leeza Soho high-rise contains a mix of shops and offices surrounding the giant atrium.

“The new business district is integral to Beijing’s multi-modal urban plan to accommodate growth without impacting existing infrastructure networks in the centre of the city,” explained the studio, which is now headed by Patrik Schumacher. “This 45-storey 172,800-square-metre tower responds to demand from small and medium-sized businesses in Beijing for flexible and efficient Grade A office space.”

Now complete, the Leeza Soho has 45 floors above ground, and four floors below it. It is positioned on a site adjacent to the business district’s rail station, and straddles an underground subway service tunnel.

Its position over this tunnel led Zaha Hadid Architects to divide the building in two halves, which resulted in the formation of a giant atrium at its centre. This atrium runs the full height of the building, which at 194.15 metres makes it the world’s tallest atrium, overtaking the void in the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.

As it rises, the Leeza Soho’s void twists by 45 degrees to appear as though the two sides of the tower are moving together “in a dynamic pas de deux”. This also aligns the tower’s upper levels with views onto Lize Road – one of west Beijing’s main streets. The dynamic shape of the atrium creates convex openings either side of the tower, which allow natural light into the interiors and provide views out over the city from each floor.

The lowest level of the atrium has been designed to act as a public square for the business district, and is directly linked to the interchange beside the site. Leeza Soho’s atrium acts as a public square for the new business district, linking all spaces within the tower and providing varying views due to its twisting, sculptural form; creating a fantastic new civic space for Beijing that is directly connected to the city’s transport network.

The two halves of the Leeza Soho are connected internally by elevated walkways that project across the void from four different levels, while externally they are connected by a glass curtain facade. This glass facade is double insulated, and is made up of a number of glass panels that are angled to aid ventilation. The intention is to help maintain a comfortable indoor climate in Beijing’s variable weather conditions.

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