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Dalian Daily

Project type: Multi Purpose


Location: Dalian, China


Time: 2011


Size: 130,000 sqm

The city of Dalian has a long history as a trading port with ties to Japan, Korea and Russia and together with its booming tourism and IT industry it has become one of China’s most prosperous and desirable cities. After two decades of construction boom, the 6-million-inhabitant city has an impressive skyline.


The Dalian Daily project adds three more towers to the bustling heart of the Central Business District. The development comprises two residential towers with a maximum height of 168m, a three-storey retail complex at the base of the complex and a new tower housing the headquarters of the Dalian Daily newspaper.


While GRAFT’s designs for the Panorama Towers in Las Vegas and the Apartment Tower in Qing Huang Dao were developed out of the horizontal ground plan and its multiplication and alteration along the vertical axis, the Dalian Daily design focuses on the extreme verticality of the volumes. Each of the towers is composed of several vertical planes, which appear to splinter at their tops like glass shards. The sharp edges and angular forms of the tops produce ever-changing light impressions and reflections as the sun moves around the sky. The light glances off the glazed roof surfaces like the sun passing over a fractured mountain range.


The twisted glass roofs result in stunning, light-filled interiors in the luxury penthouses in the residential towers and expressive conference rooms in the office building. The façade cladding, comprised of a random pattern of metal panels streaming upwards over the curtain-wall surface, underlines the towers’ extreme verticality. The panels are more closely set lower down, and more widely spaced above to create a higher percentage of floor-to-ceiling glazing on the upper floors. As such, the facade system responds to the greater need for privacy at street level and stunning views and sunlight on the upper floors.


While extreme verticality is the predominant characteristic of the towers when seen from afar, the opposite applies at street level. The three-storey building at the base employs the same façade system but here the layers are horizontal winding in long bands of up to 110 m in length around the building. The floor slabs appear to bend and shear off like geological strata. The indentions and overhangs that result, guide visitors towards the entrances and other key points.


The landscape concept for the adjacent cityscape follows the geometry of the façade structure. The lines of the pavement are informed by the geometry of the tower, underling the formal language of the architecture, and warping and twisting to create benches and street furniture. A single formal device is used in multiple ways as a means of unifying the development at different scales and in different directions.