Benzene rings inform patterned facades of Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters

Photo of Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters

New York studio OLI Architecture used parametric technology to design the decorative facades of this office complex in Suzhou for biotechnology company Ascentage Pharma.

The Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters is spread across seven distinct buildings with facades informed by benzene – a molecule composed of six carbon atoms in a ring.

Exterior photo of Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters
OLI Architecture has created Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters 

Comprising a range of repeating units, the facades were created by OLI Architecture using parametric technology and digital fabrication techniques and are intended as a reference to the work of the cancer drug company Ascentage Pharma.

“Symbolising the aspirations of Ascentage, whose cutting-edge research has developed new cancer drugs to improve the lifestyles of a future generation afflicted with diseases once thought untreatable or incurable, the campus was realised using some of the most technologically advanced digital design and fabrication tools,” said the studio.

Office HQ in Suzhou
It is the headquarters and factory of a biotechnology company

Across the 147,000-square-metre development, OLI Architecture arranged a series of public spaces as well as employee facilities across seven rectangular structures with bulging, curvilinear walls.

With varying heights and sizes, the buildings wrap around a network of outdoor spaces, including paths, small gardens and a large black-granite reflective pool.

Main building at Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters in China
There are seven distinct buildings

Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters’ buildings are all wrapped in unique concrete and aluminium facades, forming patterns based on the hexagonal form of a benzene ring.

“Each building volume’s facade is carefully designed using the benzene ring hexagon as the source form, which is then engineered to fold parametrically bonding around the seven different building volumes,” the studio explained.

“These parametrically modelled facades were then digitally fabricated using ultra high strength concrete panels and anodized aluminium nodes and extrusions, affording distinct facade designs for optimal balance of visual transparency and privacy.”

A standout feature of the complex is a sweeping white bridge, which is raised on stilts across the water to provide access to the raised main building.

Facade with intricate molecule-informed facade
A pool surrounds the buildings

The eighty-metre-tall main building acts as the hub of the development and contains spaces for research and administration in one corner of the site.

To create a sheltered porch area, a light grey volume with a curved cutout wraps around the ground floor of the main building. Above, the first three floors are fully glazed, while the main portion is surrounded by decorative cladding.

Detail image of molecule-informed facade
The facades reference molecule structures

Other facilities at Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters include a storage facility, a laboratory building, a conference centre and an accommodation block to be used by employees.

Founded in 2010, New York-based studio OLI Architecture’s past projects include a floating art and literary museum elevated over a lake in China and a Japanese-informed pavilion designed to house a Richard Serra sculpture.

The photography is by Shen Zhonghai.

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