Author Archives: 01 Alex Ziemba

Curve/Analysis/Point on Curve

Adding a Line Between Two Points on a Curve

Using the Slider to Select Different Points

p1_Alex Ziemba_01

Steven Holl’s Vanke Center

"A Horizontal Skyscraper"

Steven Holl’s Vanke Center in Shenzhen, China, is much like a “horizontal skyscraper”. This building of comparable size to the Empire State Building is a unique solution to height restrictions in the area. The building is raised off the ground on a series of supportive stilts.

I was intrigued by this idea of a horizontal skyscraper elevated off the ground. This slight detachment from the earth allows for the creation of open air public spaces beneath the building. In the space resides gardens, cafes, and restaurants. These public spaces are important, as people need space in which to gather. The open space naturally creates views, in addition to the glass cubes Holl placed on the underside of the building to serve as 360 degree windows.

Biblioteca Municipal de Viana do Castelo

This reminds me of a public library in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. This library was elevated off the ground to allow for views through the structure to the Lima River beside it. This allowed for both an important visual and physical connection or passage to the riverfront. It would be interesting to experiment with how a skyscraper meets the earth, and what passages, views, and public spaces can be created through that interaction.

Photovoltaic Cells on Roof

The elevation of the building also serves a practical purpose, protecting it against tsunami floods. Holl’s Vanke Center takes the environment in great consideration. “On the roof of the building, a solar photovoltaic system provides the building with 18% of its power. Inside, the doors, floors and furniture are made from a bamboo, considered a renewable resource because it grows so quickly, and the carpets are made from recycled materials. High performance glazing and the narrow design allows for a lot of natural daylight, but minimizes solar heat gain and cooling needs” (

New architecture should aim to create community space, interact with the environment in a positive way and be as environmentally conscious/sustainable as possible. Steven Holl’s mixed use Vanke Center begins to address these issues. The┬áhotel, apartment, office, restaurant, and garden space although less complex in form, allows for new ways to play with space, both inside and underneath the structure.