Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Nanjing Regional Tour
CTBUH 2014 Conference: Shanghai

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See the report on the 2014 Shanghai Conference

September 20-21, 2014
Daniel Safarik, CTBUH Editor
The Regional Tour of Nanjing began with an exhilarating ride on the high-speed train from the massive Shanghai Hongqiao to the equally massive Nanjing South station, which takes only about one hour and 15 minutes to cover 300 kilometers. Hundreds of clusters of tall buildings under construction were visible in and between intermediate station stops at Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou.
Green wall inside headquarters
The tour began on the morning of Sept. 20th in a van provided by Suning, whose Gulou Ruicheng development office was the first stop. Delegates attended a lunch presentation about the 850,000 square-meter mixed-use project by tour organizer Daniel Ayars, Principal, NBBJ.
Gulou Ruicheng Model
Crew removing the crane foundation at the Gulou Ruicheng development office tower construction site.
The first phase of the project is now under construction, which includes five office and SOHO towers surrounding a central square. Ayars took attendees to virtually every nook and cranny available, including the rooftop of one of the 250-meter office buildings, where a construction crew was busily jackhammering away at the foundation of the recently removed tower crane. Ayars explained how the orientation of the podium buildings and landscaping were meant to echo the 14th-century Ming Dynasty walls that still partially surround the city, but which now connect rather than repel visitors and citizens. The angles of the buildings and a canal running through the site were optimized to capitalize on the project’s proximity to the Yangtze River, while adjustable fins provided solar shading as well as the opportunity to express program inside the retail podiums, or even to carry advertising.
Details of the Youth Olympics Center Towers View from the tower of the Youth Olympics Center Towers
The next stop was the Youth Olympics Center Towers by Zaha Hadid Architects.  The tour received a detailed presentation from contractor CSCEC on the building’s complicated façade, which consists of a combination of glass curtain wall panels, glass-fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) and perforated aluminum panels, the latter of which has millions of embedded LED lights, which create a racing lightning-bolt pattern on the towers’ exterior at night. The highlight of this tour was a ride to the roof of Tower 2 in a construction lift, followed by a climb up through temporary holes four floors on ladders to reach the summit, where a pose with the tower crane and Tower 1 in the backdrop was obligatory.
Breathtaking view from atop the Youth Olympics Center Towers
The last stop of the evening included a lavish traditional Chinese dinner with Lou Xiaojun, Vice President, Suning Real Estate Group, Co. Ltd. and Wu Zhiping, Director, Design Management Center, Suning Real Estate Group, Co. Ltd., at the Novotel hotel on the company’s campus northeast of Nanjing. Suning is one of China’s largest electronics retailers and has become a major property investor in its own right. Its NBBJ-designed campus is an unfussy cluster of curtain-walled mid-rise buildings, with a few flourishes, including extensive exterior lighting, brightly colored and well-polished interiors, and a fountain that cloaks one building in a mysterious mist.
Attendees visiting the 72nd-floor observatory of the Greenland Zifeng Tower
Attendees stayed overnight in the luxurious InterContinental Hotel, which occupies floors 45 to 71 of the Greenland Zifeng Tower, Nanjing’s tallest building at 450 meters. Staying in the hotel gave attendees the opportunity to appreciate the difficulties of creating naturally ventilated, double height spaces at transfer floors and key public areas, and generously high ceilinged guest rooms on a small, triangular site. The observatory on floor 72 afforded clear views of the lake, city walls, Purple Mountain, and the huge array of new towers rising in this ancient city.
Inside the double-skin façade of the Jinao Tower
View of interior atrium at Jinao Tower
Later, attendees were able to appreciate the juxtaposition of the Ji Ming temple, Xuanwu Lake and modern skyline with a stroll along a portion of the city wall.

The last stop of the tour was the Jinao Tower project, developed by Golden Land and designed by SOM. The delegates were able to tour the project extensively, including several types of rooms in the Fairmont Hotel, its serviced apartments in a separate building, and the under-construction retail podium, in addition to enjoying a hosted lunch at Altitude on the 60th floor, kindly facilitated by Han Xinhai of Golden Land. Attendees also got to step out on the metal grille sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of the project’s double-skin façade, whose crenellated outer surface gives it the appearance of a Chinese lantern.
The Nanjing Tour Group (from left to right): Jim Luo, South China University; Daniel Safarik, CTBUH; Yantong Zhao, Halvorson and Partners; Darcy Chang, NBBJ; Henry Huang, WSP; Marco Belcastro, NBBJ; Lou Xiaojun, Suning Real Estate Group; Daniel Ayars, NBBJ; Arthur Hsu, United Technologies; and Wu Zhiping, Suning Real Estate Group.
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