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DJI headquarters, Shenzhen

A new benchmark for future R&D buildings

Located in Nanshan District, Shenzhen’s technology and innovation hub, the headquarters of the world’s largest consumer drone maker will serve as a creative, commercial, social and cultural catalyst for the Greater Bay Area.

The development comprises two towers of 213m and 195m tall connected by a floating bridge, providing a unique research and office environment as well as spaces for showcasing the company’s latest drone technology.

Working with renowned architect Foster + Partners, Arup has provided integrated engineering design services to help realise this futuristic landmark building. Our scope of work covers structural, mechanical, electrical, public health engineering, fire, façade traffic consulting and design review services.

A green R&D landmark

The complex is designed to set a benchmark for future R&D buildings in terms of structural efficiency and sustainability. The two towers are elevated from the ground to provide as much space as possible at ground level, offering a public green space for workers and the community to enjoy.

To add visual dynamism, each tower is arranged in six asymmetric blocks cantilevered from the central core, creating a floating effect and futuristic sense. Gaps between the blocks will provide outdoor sky terraces for staff to refresh and reboot.

Project Summary

12 floating blocks hanging on two towers

17,606total land area

242,000total GFA

A unique hanging structure

Our structure design plays a key role in realising the radical architectural form and floating blocks. The building is equipped with a light structure relying on the core, the only structural element that goes all the way to the ground and basement. This allows the blocks to be hanged with the floor plates suspended from the top diagonal elements tying the structure to the core.

Each floating block offers a 4-floor drone testing space at the top, with 10-14 floor plates for R&D functions hanging below. Thanks to this unique structure and the exposed steelwork, the office area enjoys a large span of column-free and flexible space with a 270-degree glass wall, creating a sense of high-tech.

The floating bridge: light but strong

For the sky bridge linking up the twin towers, our design team opted for the cable-stayed bridge design after considering the aesthetics of the bridge, its structural stability and seismic resistance.

Recognising that the bridge at 100m above ground is susceptible to strong winds in Shenzhen, our team also carried out computational fluid dynamics simulation analysis on the bridge and conducted special wind engineering design to suppress the wind-induced instability.

Making the systems fit

The design of the vertical transport system presents a key challenge that brings our structural, MEP and vertical transport engineers together with the architect to work out the best solution. A twin lift system was adopted to meet the traffic needs between different floors in the DJI headquarters. This system not only optimises lift efficiency and reduces energy consumption during off-peak hours, but also reduces the number of shafts required so as to increase the usable office floor area.

For the R&D space, the floor beams span 16.5m to18.5m. Our structure design features composite beams with large openings penetrating through them to integrate the MEP facilities. With seamless SMEP integration we avoided the use of ceilings, achieving higher headroom for larger functional spaces.

Enhancing connectivity within and around

Combining our local and international experience in transport consulting, we provided comprehensive analyses and assessments to meet the present and future traffic needs of this mini ‘vertical city’. Our transport consultants worked with MEP professionals and the building operators to ensure the rational arrangement and layout of the building’s external traffic connections, including entrances and exits, future shuttle bus services, and carpark demand and management.

In addition, the transport consulting team provided a pedestrian simulation service to enhance the internal spatial arrangement of the building, fulfilling the client’s requirements for efficient use of the interior space.

© Arup © Arup

Optimising structural fire protection

Given the extensive use of exposed steel in the project, our fire engineers carried out in-depth anti-corrosion and fire protection studies to ensure the robustness of the building’s structure in case of fire.

We conducted advanced outdoor fire modelling analyses to examine the temperature impact on the exposed beams, columns, diagonal bracing and other components in different fire scenarios. Various factors such as the size of the structural components, the form of force and the fire protection layer setup were also taken into account to improve weather durability and facilitate building maintenance.