flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

New HQ for Chinese tech supplier will feature gardens on every floor

Office Buildings

New HQ for Chinese tech supplier will feature gardens on every floor

NBBJ’s spiral design maximizes worker exposure to the green spaces.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | June 25, 2020

The design for vivo's new headquarters in China calls for indoor-outdoor gardens on each of its 32 floors. Images: NBBJ

Construction began last month on the new corporate headquarters for vivo, a fast-growing China-based tech and smartphone provider. The building is scheduled to be substantially completed in the fall of 2025, when it will include as part of its amenities package indoor-outdoor gardens on every one of its levels.

The 32-story, 97,000-sm tower, which will soar 150 meters in the Bao’an district of Shenzhen, China, will feature gardens that ascend, in a spiral design, alongside a health- and wellness-focused work environment.

“We know that today’s workers thrive in ‘whole life’ environments that integrate nature, health and work. Our design is the physical embodiment of that ethos—fluid, sustainable, and center[ed] around the wellbeing of those who use the space,” says Robert Mankin, Partner in charge of workplace design at NBBJ, the design architect on this project.


The building, scheduled for completion in 2025, will rise 150 meters.


Along with NBBJ, the Building Team includes Atkins (sustainability consultant), InHabit (façade consultant) BPI (lighting consultant), CADG (landscape), and WSP (vertical transportation). The local AE team is overseen by Tongji Architectural Design, whose scope includes construction drawings, as well as structural and MEP engineering.

The building’s green spaces move from a ground-level plaza with retail through the tower, where they transition to evoke the diverse biomes found in Southeast China, from coastal wetlands and lowland forests to subtropical and alpine forests.

Also see: A Poland firm takes vegetative façade to a new level

The building is designed to achieve WELL and LEED Gold certifications. To protect against rising flood waters due to climate change and typhoons, NBBJ has proposed sustainability features that include permeable surfaces and landscaping for drainage back into the ground.

Rainwater will be captured in underground tanks and reused.


The gardens on the first four above-ground floors will be connected, and lead to a collection of gardens and terraces on the middle floors.


Since the outdoor gardens spiral up and change location on each level, “we developed a smart and systematic planning strategy to zone the workspaces so they get the most of the gardens,” explains Vivian Ngo, a Principal and one of NBBJ’s architects on this project, in written responses to BD+C’s questions.

So pantries will always be adjacent to the gardens as a starting point, with workspaces shifting around on each level. Ngo notes that, in a typical office plan, the core is usually the starting point.

To minimize columns, some of the outdoor garden spans are quite large, says Ngo. The structural engineering ensures that the garden zone has enough capacity for planting soil and enough clearance in the floor below without additional columns.

Furthermore, in typhoon-prone Shenzhen, the outdoor elements in these high-rise gardens, such as plant species and exterior doors, will need to withstand storms.


A welcoming street-level plaza will include retail.


Ngo says that the design team considered whether to connect the gardens throughout the entire building, so that occupants could walk from level 5 (the first floor above parking) to level 32 uninterrupted. The team ultimately decided, for efficiency sake, to connect the first four floors with gardens on the same side, as one unit.

The building will coil upward to The Atrium—a collection of terraces and gardens at the building’s middle levels—before finishing at the penthouse area that offers event space, conference rooms, and a view of Qianhai Bay.

Ngo says that while the building was designed before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic last March, its connecting stairs “could help decrease elevator use when traveling short distances between levels.”

The area of covered outdoor space counts toward the building’s gross floor area, or GFA, according to local codes. That’s an added cost, explains Ngo, and somewhat contrary to traditional real estate development economics. “However, the client was very open-minded,” she says, in its support of the outdoor garden design and its promise of unique wellness and productivity benefits “to create value beyond what can be measured in dollars or yuans.”

Related Stories

Urban Planning | Jun 2, 2023

Designing a pedestrian-focused city for people to live, work, and play

What makes a city walkable? Shepley Bulfinch's Omar Bailey, AIA, LEED AP, NOMA, believes pedestrian focused cities benefit most when they're not only easy to navigate, but also create spaces where people can live, work, and play.

Mixed-Use | Jun 1, 2023

The Moore Building, a 16-story office and retail development, opens in Nashville’s Music Row district

Named after Elvis Presley’s onetime guitarist, The Moore Building, a 16-story office building with ground-floor retail space, has opened in Nashville’s Music Row district. Developed by Portman and Creed Investment Company and designed by Gresham Smith, The Moore Building offers 236,000 sf of office space and 8,500 sf of ground-floor retail. 

Office Buildings | May 24, 2023

The future of work: What to expect in 2023

While no one disagrees that the workplace has undergone tectonic changes, it is less clear how to understand these shifts and synthesize them into practical action for the coming year.

Multifamily Housing | May 23, 2023

One out of three office buildings in largest U.S. cities are suitable for residential conversion

Roughly one in three office buildings in the largest U.S. cities are well suited to be converted to multifamily residential properties, according to a study by global real estate firm Avison Young. Some 6,206 buildings across 10 U.S. cities present viable opportunities for conversion to residential use.

Headquarters | May 16, 2023

Workplace HQ for party clothing company Shinesty celebrates its bold, whimsical products

The new Denver headquarters for Shinesty, a party clothing company, was designed to match the brand’s fun image with an iconic array of colors, textures, and prints curated by the design agency, Maximalist. Shinesty’s mission, to challenge the world to live more freely and “take itself less seriously,” is embodied throughout the office interior.

Office Buildings | May 15, 2023

Sixteen-story office tower will use 40% less energy than an average NYC office building

This month marks the completion of a new 16-story office tower that is being promoted as New York City’s most sustainable office structure. That boast is backed by an innovative HVAC system that features geothermal wells, dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) units, radiant heating and cooling, and a sophisticated control system to ensure that the elements work optimally together.

Headquarters | May 15, 2023

The new definition of Class A property

Dan Cheetham, Managing Director and Founder of FYOOG, believes organizations returning to a "hub and spoke" model could have a profound effect on properties once considered Class B.

Headquarters | May 9, 2023

New Wells Fargo development in Texas will be bank’s first net-positive campus

A new Wells Fargo development in the Dallas metroplex will be the national bank’s first net-positive campus, expected to generate more energy than it uses. The 850,000-sf project on 22 acres will generate power from solar panels and provide electric vehicle charging stations.

BIM and Information Technology | May 8, 2023

What AEC professionals should know about digital twins

A growing number of AEC firms and building owners are finding value in implementing digital twins to unify design, construction, and operational data.

Office Buildings | May 5, 2023

9 workplace design trends for 2023

HOK Director of WorkPlace Kay Sargent and Director of Interiors Tom Polucci discuss the trends shaping office design in 2023.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021