Buro Ole Scheeren’s Axiom completes in Shanghai

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The Axiom
©  Iwan Baan

The Axiom, a new skyscraper on Shanghai’s skyline, designed by the renowned architecture practice Buro Ole Scheeren, is now the tallest building at the Yangpu District’s center in northeast Shanghai. It serves as a hub of innovation and creativity in the fastest-growing and most future-oriented district. The Axiom is a two-tower complex that offers numerous square meters of flexible workspaces, including offices, hotels, shops, cultural facilities, and a theater, in response to the growing demand for high-quality workspaces in the area.

The tower rises over almost 275 meters, making it the new landmark of the skyline. One of the notable features of the tower is the elevator bank that ascends the side of the building. The reason for Buro Ole Scheeren to make this design decision is to avoid layout sacrifices on a leasable floor area, in contrast to the typical high-rises with an elevator core at the center of the structure. Additional lateral bracing was added to the opposite end of the tower to achieve the offset core design. This resulted in interior spaces that are free from columns, elevators, trash chutes, and mechanical systems. Using a side-core design, this project joins the 3% of the world’s 500 tallest buildings.

The Axiom
©  Xiaobin Lv

From the exterior, the elevator core is illuminated, allowing pedestrians on the street to see ascending and descending elevator cars at the tower. Another distinguished part of the Axiom is the large central balcony that creates a void in the ongoing glass volume. The balcony is set back from the rest of the building with gold-colored soffits on the carved sections, drawing visual attention to the center of the building. This “Sky Terraces” part serves as an amenity space offering views of the city.

The Axiom tower’s non-core-bearing elevations are covered with vertical bronze fins that match the color of the Sky Terraces. These panels are perforated, which helps to ventilate the interior of the building, and they are equipped with light sources that illuminate the tower at night. The founder of the architecture studio, Ole Scheeren, says: “The bronze color is employed in the building to accentuate specific architectural features: The sculptural void visually opens the box and creates a distinct silhouette, serving as a focal point, while fulfilling a functional role in hosting the Sky Terraces,” about the bronze colored design.

The Axiom
©  Xiaobin Lv

The Sky Terrace is accompanied by the Roof Oasis, located atop the tower. This area features outdoor gardens filled with lush plant life and flowing water features. The tower’s occupants can enjoy these natural elements, which reflect the rich nature of the local district and nearby wetland eco-park. In order to minimize solar heat gain, the architecture studio implemented high-performance glazing while also reducing direct sunlight exposure through the building’s side core design’s shade provision.

After the first tower’s completion, the second tower will similarly have an offset core. The two will be linked with the Cultural Gate, a mixed-use podium, which will feature informal workspaces, public roof terraces, and cafes. The Cultural Gate will guide visitors towards a multi-form theatre for cultural events and activities, with the aim to blur the boundaries between corporate functions and public spaces.

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