As China’s second tallest structure, the Chow Thai Fook (CTF) Finance Centre demonstrates the alignment of supertall design with cultural, environmental, and contextual sensitivity.
Guangzhou, located on the Pearl River Delta, is a megalopolis of southern China that leads the country in economic power. Completed in 2016, the 530-meter-tall CTF Finance Centre is the city’s tallest building and represents the region's recent prosperity and urban growth.
At its base, the tower is linked to public transportation through basement-level connections and to adjacent buildings via pedestrian-level bridges. An unprecedented mix of programs is defined by four main transition points; the program ascends from office, to residential, to hotel, to its record-high crown. The program also comprises ballroom, retail, restaurant and cinema spaces, with a nearby central park and underground retail concourse that further enhance its urban connectivity.
The tower’s multiple programs instruct its unique form while maintaining dialogue with the city’s architectural identity. Vertical massing steps accommodate the changing floor plate size requirements of its varied program types and highlight the tower’s relationship with neighboring supertall landmarks, the Guangzhou West Tower and the Canton Tower. The chiseled setbacks also provide a crescendo to the city skyline. Positioned as a crystalline form that ascends to the sky, the Centre features a terracotta façade attuned to the material’s history. Its shining finish evokes the bright white lines of its nearby companions, maintaining visual regularity while pushing its boundaries.
The tower’s materiality also has environmental advantages. Terracotta is self-cleaning, corrosion-resistant, and is easily produced and shipped. The façade’s ceramic-clad piers preserve floor-to-ceiling views and offer generous shading to the exterior, providing natural ventilation in Guangzhou’s tropical climate. The building employs additional sustainability measures, like high-efficiency chillers and heat recovery. Together, the features of CTF Finance Centre symbolize a future where sustainability and international commerce are interdependent—for the client, for the city of Guangzhou, and for China.