SOM designs Alibaba’s new cloud-shaped HQ in Shanghai

Functional flexibility, river views and sustainability are the main features of the project for the e-commerce giant.

The US architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has revealed the design for the headquarters of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The 807,000 square feet (75,000 square-meter) building, in Shanghai’s Xuhui District, will be composed of a group of blocky modules containing office spaces arranged in a cloud-like form, to reference Alibaba’s considerable cloud-based digital presence.

Indoor and outdoor workspaces will develop around a large courtyard space, a thing that will offer great layout flexibility, together with column-free offices that will make it easier for the company to change space size and desk placement to meet different needs.

Stairs and connecting bridges between spaces should encourage people working in different areas to connect with each other and meeting spaces, opening onto outdoor terraces around the building’s perimeter, will offer views of the Huangpu River. The outdoor spaces will be arranged with sheltered seating and areas of greenery for employees’ well-being. The project will also pay particular attention to sustainability.

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