Skyscraper of the Day: Meet The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre

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Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre is a supertall mixed use skyscraper that is the third tallest building in China and the seventh tallest building in the world. The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is 530 meters tall and has a total of 111 above ground and five below ground floors and houses a shopping mall, offices, apartments, and a hotel. It is built on a site overlooking the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China.

US architectural firm Kohn Pederson Fox designed the tower. The form of the tower is informed by its internal program through setbacks at four primary transition levels; starting with the office to residential, residential to hotel, hotel to crown, and lastly crown to sky.  With each step in the buildings form, the floorplate is reduced in response to its internal programming and the revealed rooftop space is utilized as an outdoor sky terrace for tenants. These setbacks also correspond with the heights of other buildings nearby. The façade system incorporates a white terracotta vertical “mullion” system inspired by the long tradition of Chinese ceramic craft. They represent both Chinese tradition and early skyscraper design. Serving multiple functions, the terracotta façade element serves to conceal operable windows, LED lighting, window washing tracks, as well as provide solar shading, the CTBUH described it as ‘the tallest application of terracotta in the world’. Its shining finish evokes the bright white lines of its nearby companions, maintaining visual regularity while pushing its boundaries. The building employs additional sustainability measures, like high-efficiency chillers and heat recovery.

Underneath, a subterranean retail concourse connects with transport interchanges, directly integrating the project into the city and the wider Pearl River Delta region. To achieve the height, a square core and eight concrete columns provide primary structural support, while four levels of steel outriggers and six sets of double-layer belt trusses offer additional lateral stability. Overall, the CTF Centre demonstrates the alignment of supertall design with cultural, environmental, and contextual sensitivity.

Aerial view of CTF Finance centre building, Guangzhou, China.
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