Zaha Hadid Architects doesn’t shy away from superlatives. Adjectives used to describe the firm’s work often include curviest, shiniest, and most otherworldly, to name a few. The latest point of proof: The firm has unveiled an office building in Beijing that boasts the world’s tallest atrium.
The Leeza SOHO tower rises 45 stories into the air in Beijing’s new Fengtai business district. Its facade is wrapped in slanted glass facets creating a gleaming cylinder that can only be described as “futuristic.” Though the exterior is plenty dramatic, the real show goes on inside, where an atrium rises 637 feet high in a curving mass of glass and steel.
The building is designed as two parts that are split by an underground subway service tunnel. The two sides of the tower twisting upward are a little like buildings within a building. The interior walls are made from glass, allowing lots of natural light to filter deep into the building. The two sides separated by the atrium are bridged by a series of glass-clad skywalks on floors 13, 24, 35, and 45.
The tower is outside the city center, but it isn’t far from the recently opened Beijing Daxing airport, also by ZHA, which means you can easily get a two-for-one glimpse at some of Beijing’s most audacious new architecture.