Huge curved glass façade dominates Tianjin's Riverside 66

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Tianjin's new Riverside 66 building is 350 m (1,150 ft) long and has a huge curved glass façade (Photo: Tim Griffith)

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When undertaking any major project, it's important to have the courage of your convictions. Judging by its part in the redevelopment plan for China's Tianjin river banks, this is something of which architects firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is not short. Riverside 66 is a breathtaking glazed megastructure.

KPF is no stranger to making a statement. The Pinnacle in London makes it comfortably one of the tallest buildings in the UK, despite having already been scaled down. KPF says that Riverside 66, meanwhile, will be one of the longest single structures in its surrounding region, and it will likely be one of the most impressive to boot.

Built for Hang Lung Properties Limited, the building stretches for 350 m (1,150 ft) from end to end. Noteworthy as that is, it is the curved glass façade that spans one side of the building's length that makes it especially eye-catching. The huge façade is constructed using 22 seven-story high concrete ribs and over 10,000 panels of glass. It arches up from the ground, away from the river and back over the main portion of the building's structure.

"Now that the structural frame is complete, to wander inside a series of curved concrete ribs is something like it must be to see a whale skeleton from the inside," says KPF Design Principal James von Klemperer. "Herman Melville would be inspired."

The building covers an area of 152,800 sq m (1,644,726 sq ft) and will house retail spaces. Beyond that, however, the aim is for the building to also act as an urban center, a thoroughfare and a public space. KPF calls it "the centerpiece of the new commercial district" in Tianjin. It has already achieved LEED pre-certification and is ultimately targeting LEED Gold certification.

The KPF team consisted of Paul Katz, FAIA (Managing Principal), James von Klemperer, FAIA (Design Principal), Jeffrey Kenoff, AIA (Director/Senior Designer), Audrey Choi (Project Team Leader NY), Edwin Lau (Project Team Leader HK), and Peter Gross, AIA (Project Manager).

Riverside 66 opened on September 26th of this year.

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