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Foster + Partners to design Alibaba’s new offices in Shanghai

The firm won a design competition for the project.

January 09, 2020 |
Alibaba central interior space

All renderings courtesy Foster + Partners

Alibaba, the world’s largest online retailer and e-commerce company, is set to receive a new signature office building in Shanghai courtesy of Foster + Partners. The building will showcase the company’s unique working culture to the public.

Situated at Xuhui Riverside, the building is formed around a central heart that opens up to create a large public urban room. The building is designed to be extremely transparent and includes an active social core with viewing terraces overlooking the central space.


Alibaba Shanghai HQ


The project’s unique building form has been guided by a design process that uses a genetic algorithm to evolve the optimal massing. The algorithm combines several aspects that are crucial to the project such as being highly responsive to the environmental conditions, maximizing outside views, and the specific area requirements for different functions. The massing is optimized to provide the best year-round user comfort in the central public space by protecting it from stronger winds in the winter and the harsh summer sun while creating tailored workspace solutions for the different departments at Alibaba.


Alibaba HQ aerial


Desk arrangements, break-out spaces, and meeting rooms are designed to encourage collaboration and teamwork with visual and physical connectivity encouraging interactions. 


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“Our design emphasises the importance of communication, the integrity of the working community and above all, the creation of an image that reflects the standing of Alibaba,” said Luke Fox, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners, in a release. “The scheme is truly designed from the inside out, centred on a dynamic, sheltered public space capitalizing on its amazing location with its views of the Huangpu River and the Bund.”

The design will utilize off-site production for quality control, reducing wastage, and minimizing on-site operations to create an efficient construction program.

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