Designed by FCHA, the Vanke Design Community in Shenzhen, China, features a series of office buildings covered in green roofs that come together to create the effect of a giant park.

As the project sits on a sloping site, some offices are technically below ground level. The idea was to keep these spaces well-lit and connected to the natural environment to offset the feeling of being underground.

Vanke Design Community Shenzhen aerial

The shift in levels was the biggest design challenge, particularly at the centre of the site. This was addressed through the inclusion of a stepped area of seating and greenery (referred to as the Outdoor Theatre), surrounded by wide concrete staircases.

Cut into the sides of the Outdoor Theatre are two thin corridors, which act as light wells for the work spaces on either side.

An immense metal bridge cuts across the site, allowing people to easily travel from one side of the precinct to the other.

Steel is one of the key materials used in the precinct’s design, along with glass and fair-faced concrete.  

Photography by Guanhong Chen