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China Zun, Beijing

Integrated smart design for the tallest building in Beijing

Located at the heart of Beijing's new CBD extension, CITIC Tower (also known as China Zun) is the tallest building in the capital city with a height of 528m, surpassing that of China World Tower, another Arup project. 

The building’s intriguing profile – wide at the top and at the base and slender in the middle – is inspired by the zun, an ancient Chinese ritual vessel for drinking wine, which also lends the structure its nickname.  In Chinese culture 'Zun' represents communal goodwill, an important symbol for this iconic landmark in Beijing.

The tower's smooth vertical curve gives the building a contemporary and elegant expression that assists in maximising the floor area at the top, while provide structural stability at the base. Zun accommodates seven levels of basement and a mega tower of 108-storeys, providing mostly office space and an observation deck with a gross floor area of 350,000m².

Project Summary

528m tall tower


54mx54m at its waist

China Zun (Z15) tower (c) Wentao China Zun (Z15) tower (c) Wentao

Supporting a landmark

As the leading structural engineer from schematic design stage to preliminary design stage, Arup introduced a high efficient lateral resistancy system composed of a fully braced mega frame and a concrete core. Composite steel-concrete member like composite steel plate wall and composite mega columns are also extensively utilised to minimize structural member size and increase usable floor area. With Arup's services, China Zun sets the new standard for tall buildings in a high seismic zone.

We also conducted complex fire analysis to ensure the robustness of the building in a fire, and optimised evacuation provisions. We minimised fire separation in the grand entrance lobby linked to the adjacent cultural centre and enlarged the fire compartment on the observation deck which will have a dense occupant load.

Arup engineered a highly efficient tube-in-tube structural support system composed of a perimeter steel megastructure and a reinforced concrete core.

Digital parametric design to optimise the form

Most super high-rise buildings feature their smallest dimensions at the top to reduce the wind load and seismic mass; however, China Zun’s floor plan reduces from 78m in width at the bottom to 54m at 385m which then enlarges to 70m at the top. This unique shape required substantial scheme adjustment under a complex and lengthy structural analysis. It was also carefully studied with the project architect using an advanced parametric structural design approach and BIM technology.

Connecting parametric models to structural analysis software using an Arup-developed programme allowed the effect of changing the architectural form to be analysed accurately with some critical parameters controlling the architectural functions as well as structural performance, such as the floor dimensions at ground, top and the ‘neck’, the tower profile curvature and corner round-up radius. Parametric modelling was also applied to optimise the central line of the mega columns.

Our digital tools allowed the team to explore more than 800 options in record time, resulting in the perfect geometrical consistency between perimeter structure and façades with a robust structural design.

China Zun sets a precedent for super-tall buildings in Beijing and China through its advanced use of digital modelling and its cost-effective, innovative strategy for protecting the building from fire and earthquake risk