“Floating windows” development to signify Guangzhou’s openness to the world

A planned riverside development for Guangzhou features buildings in the unusual shape of floating windows to symbolise the Chinese city’s openness to global trade.

The city may only be mainland China’s third largest by GDP but Atkins, the UK-based firm leading the development’s design, says the two ‘windows’ and one upright, 208m tower spell "001" to signify its place as the first Chinese city open for international trading – both in the modern era in the late 1970s, and as a port for the ancient Silk Road.

Located on the Pearl River, Guangzhou is the main hub of the conurbation known as the Pearl River Delta, China’s leading commercial and manufacturing region.

Atkins was appointed by state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to provide architecture services for the development, called "Window of Guangzhou".

The buildings spell "001" to signify Guangzhou’s claim to be the first Chinese city open for international trade – as far back as the Silk Road (Atkins)

It is Atkins’ first architecture project for CCCC following a memorandum of understanding for a global strategic cooperation between the firms signed in April this year.

The development, due to be completed in 2018, consists of three stand-alone buildings which will house high-end office space. 

"Atkins’ design concept demonstrates the importance of Guangzhou as a gateway to China for the world," said Shu Guang, project director at CCCC. "The window-shaped buildings promote the city’s image as an important location for China’s import and export business."

Guangzhou has hosted the China Import and Export Fair every year since 1957. Atkins, ranked the 15th largest global design firm by Engineering News-Record this year, employs some 17,500 staff around the world.

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