Jaspers-Eyers Architects designs headquarters of Nongfu Spring in Hangzhou (BE/CN)

Nongfu Spring belongs to the Group Yang Sheng Tang (YST) and contains 11 branches all over China. The group was established in 1993, at this moment employs 20,000 employees and achieves a turnover of US $1.75 billion. Besides this they are also active in the food industry and in the biomedical sector, having developed the very first Hepatitis E vaccine ever in the world. Nongfu Spring also participated in the China Olympic Committee in order to be able to secure the Olympic Games 2008.

YST’s headquarters are located in Hangzhou, a city with over a million inhabitants, situated at 170 km southwards from Shanghai. A few years ago YST acquired a piece of ground of 12 hectares among the tea plantations on the hills, just outside the city center, with the intention to develop a whole business plant. In a first stage this site will contain four buildings covering a total surface area of 68,000 m² and an underground car park of 25,400 m². Later on the second phase will be developed covering another 40,000 m² of office space and laboratory areas.

YST will occupy a building of 20,000 m² for its administrative offices and for the headquarters of Nongfu Spring. The R&D department, together with its laboratory spaces will be housed in a second building of 18,000 m². Multiple facilities will be provided for the whole site, including a restaurant, a day care nursery, fitness room, swimming pool, a supermarket, an event and reception hall and a number of offices to be let, including a fourth building of 20,000 m². All premises will consist of 4 floors and will have a maximum height of 18 meters.

YST expressed their wish for a universal, classical, stylish and timeless architecture, at the same time reflecting the power and standing of a contemporary and innovating company with international relations. Therefore the architectural practice of Jaspers-Eyers opted for a façade with a traditional massive composition of horizontal registers and accentuated cornices and coves. The vertical rhythm is especially dominant on the lower levels with their impressive high piers and turns into a more explicit horizontal accentuation at the higher levels.

A light beige natural stone was selected for the finishing and a typical Chinese red sand stone as plinth of the facade. Red has a powerful symbolism for the Chinese people and radiates energy, prosperity and power. The construction will be built according to the European EPB standards regarding insulation, air-tightness, sun protection, etc. Various Belgian suppliers of building materials having agencies in China have been contacted for the realization of this project.

Towards 2017 YST expects the work force in its headquarters to be doubled. Hence there is a need for a flexible working environment, where every employee, irrespective of their workplace will maintain its usual comfort even after an internal relocation: sufficient natural lighting, optimal cooling and heating, coffee and tea corners, formal and informal meeting places. Jaspers-Eyers Architects chose a covered central atrium between the vertical cores containing technical facilities and elevators, in order to bring a lot of natural light into the building. The most important horizontal and vertical circulation paths are situated around the atrium, creating an extremely spatial perception between the different floors and departments. Thanks to this the social interaction between employees will be stimulated in a very natural way.

The workspaces are mainly foreseen as open landscape offices located between the atrium and the facades. The future occupation of the building has already been taken into account, hereby limiting the number of self-contained office spaces such as boardrooms and internal meeting rooms to a strict minimum: their positioning on the different levels has been determined strategically and can be quite easily adapted or moved on short-term thanks to glazed modular walls. On every floor there will be several informal meeting places for a short coffee or tea break.

On the ground floor an accessible indoor garden has been foreseen in the atrium with water gardens, directly connected to the reception desk and areas open to the public. Professional visitors will be hosted in a business center covering different meeting rooms differing in size. There will also be a circular auditorium for up to 150 guests, equipped with the most advanced multimedia facilities and 360° projection screens. Visitors will be led towards an exposition space, also to be used as a lobby for the auditorium. Next to the main entrance of the building there will be a relaxation room with library, reading room and cafeteria for both visitors and staff facing the indoor garden.

The administrative headquarters of YST and Nongfu Spring are expected to be ready by the spring of 2015.

Source: Jaspers-Eyers Architects

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