The long-held title of “world’s tallest atrium” has jumped from a building in Dubai to a new tower in Beijing. The recently-opened Leeza SOHO by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) boasts a 623-foot-tall twisting, open-air interior that beats out the Burj Al Arab hotel by 23 feet.
Located in the southwest corner of the city, the 45-story skyscraper sits in the heart of the burgeoning Lize Financial Business District near the area’s main transit hub. It features 1.8 million square feet of commercial office space spread across the two bisected volumes, connected by four sky bridges within the adjoining structural rings. The area in between the two halves makes up the full-height atrium, which spirals upward at a 45-degree angle in order to maximize the amount of light able to reach every floor.
ZHA had to slice the interior of Leeza SOHO in half due to ongoing work on the nearby subway. The building sits at the intersection of five new lines and is atop a below-grade service tunnel. From the outside, the structure doesn’t necessarily look divided; double-insulated, low-e glazing encases the entirety of both volumes like a shell, reducing energy consumption and emissions. During the day, however, the sun shines through the middle of the facility and reveals the void in its center.
Other sustainability interventions include a high-efficiency heating and cooling system, as well as a greywater-collection method. The project is on track to receive LEED Gold certification.
Construction on the project began in April 2015 and took just over four years to complete. ZHA co-developed the building with SOHO China and worked with The Beijing Institute of Architectural Design as the architect-of-record. The tower was one of the final projects designed by Zaha Hadid before her passing in 2016.