The Alibaba Jiangsu Headquarters project is a major mixed-use development located in Nanjing, China. It has a GFA of 850,000m2 and is due for completion in 2023. The client envisioned a campus that would demonstrate collaboration between the Alibaba culture and its business partners within a holistic ecosystem: a showcase to display its innovative technology; a community for end-users and service providers; and a network to seamlessly integrate the digital and physical worlds.
The Ali Hub is the starting point of the journey. Mimicking a CPU plugged into a motherboard, it serves as the engine for the whole network, with four bridges connecting the disparate campus components. The architecture facilitates the reduction of CO2 emissions by integrating cutting-edge logistics technology. Across the campus, self-driving electric vehicles traverse the bridges, transporting both goods and people between plots. The campus buildings are strategically positioned along a diagonal, maximizing sunlight penetration.
The descending height also enables energy savings, while increasing visibility and luminosity. The setting, meanwhile, corresponds to and complements the neighbouring developments. Multiple green squares and a sunken plaza create a pleasant and ecologically rich environment, providing a seamless and harmonious interface with the surrounding city. Transcending architecture in the traditional sense, the Alibaba project is better described as a well-designed network, connecting people, places, data and experiences in unprecedented ways. It sets a new benchmark for mixed-use, smart city projects, and provides a compelling vision for the campus of the future.