Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects
Chervon International Trading Company; Nanjing, People's Republic of China

Client: Chervon International Trading Company
Architects: Perkins + Will; Architectural Design & Research Institute of Southeast University
Engineers: Green Link Kusters Consulting Co., Ltd.; Nanjing Design Institute
Contractor: Chervon Group
Category: Design - Commercial 

As Chervon International Trading Company, one of the main suppliers in the world power tool market, sought to design its senior management headquarters, it looked to the project team to develop a signature building that incorporated elements of traditional Chinese culture while showcasing a contemporary appeal.

The modern building design sets it apart from Chinese corporate vernacular, yet its garden-like design resonates within a rich Chinese gardening tradition, affording visitors an immediate connection to its natural qualities. Although perhaps the most atypical element, the headquarters has three green roofs-the first in the Nanjing region-which serve as a touch point for the public's initial views. The largest green roof is a sloped, 6,900-square meter roof covering the entire building. Its constant incline makes it visible from the ground, and in one area the roof is perforated to allow light and rainfall to reach a second green roof below. With seating and a running track, this lower green roof is a recreational area for the building's 800 employees.

The building's zig-zag plan layout creates a series of five courtyards, each with a unique identity and function that correspond to the corporation's five major departments. The landscape architect worked closely with the architect to arrange and design the courtyards along an external central spine of connectivity. This wood-decked ‘bridge' traverses multiple levels and extends through a central water court. Design details of the paving, materials, shapes, and plants chosen reinforce the contemporary, western translation of ancient Chinese garden traditions.

The landscape succeeds in meeting the client's desire for a design that both references traditional elements of Chinese gardens but also reimagines them with a contemporary aesthetic. Though very unlike other Chinese company offices in Nanjing, the design is nevertheless ‘culturally legible' to the company's local business partners as well as to their international clients and succinctly conveys the company's mission to be distinctly Chinese, yet internationally focused.