Facade with Innovation

Case Study of Super High-rise Complex Unitized Facade



Shanshui City and Star Bund Center can be considered as representative projects of RFR Shanghai recently Both provide creative solutions for complex high-rise building facade.

Shanshui City building is located along Chaoyang Park, Beijing designed by architect Ma Yansong, RFR Shanghai help to develop the asymmetrical twin towers with a height of 143 meters constituting the unique lakeside skyline. Vertical lines of facades are just like ridges and valleys eroded in nature, helping the building to combine the future with the traditional Chinese landscape artistic conception.

Technically, the hyperboloid freeform curtain walls are both the most significant feature and difficult part of the project. Among the two free-form curved towers of this project, hyperboloids with the radius of principal curvature less than 12 meters account for 54% of the total curtain wall area, up to 10,000 square meters, which is a challenge to the "limit" of the glass curtain wall system. To overcome these difficulties, 3 developments were implemented: hyperboloid optimization, complex three-dimensional curtain wall system design, and production implementation, and quality control.

The second project, the Star Bund Center building is located on the North Bund of Shanghai. It is the highest super high-rise twin-tower project in Shanghai at present, constituted by 2 towers with a height of 263 meters designed by architect Cesar Pelli. The critical points of the design are its innovative inverted unitized facade system, which is taking advantage of the decorative fins on the outside, and using them as structural members of the facade but it also provides clean and compact interior look. This project receives LEED Gold certification and China green building design 3-star.


Photo of YU Hui

YU Hui


RFR Building Design Consulting (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.


Photo of JIN Shihui

JIN Shihui

Project Manager



Complex geometry unitized façade in Shanshui City

Shanshui City building is in the central business district (CBD) of Beijing. A pair of asymmetrical towers up to 143m creates a dramatic skyline in front of the park. Vertical

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Inverted unitized façade system in Star Bund Center tower

The Star Bund Center Building is constituted by two towers with a height of 263 meters, which are the highest twin towers in Shanghai at present.

Designed by architect Cesar

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Unitized façade on super high-rise building is the most demanding façade type for system performance, fabrication precision, and cost efficiency, because of its complexity of the system and the large

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The author would like to thank the project team for their collaboration on the projects:

Shanshui City:

Facade consulting:

RFR Shanghai: Yu Hui, Tina Tan, Armin Kainz, Evii Jin, Yanhua Zhao, Vincent Wang, Florian Rochereau, Xuefeng He, Shenya Zhu;

Nicolas Leduc (RFR sas PARIS, now T/E/S/S), Philippe Bompas (RFR sas PARIS, now ELXIR)

Architect: MAD

Facade contractor: Jangho: Jianxing Li, Hongbo Cheng

Star Bund Center tower:

Facade consulting: RFR Shanghai: Xiangqun Hu, Jefferey Peng, Paco Zou, Vincent Wang, Evii Jin, RICO Nano, Duer Lu

Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

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Reference of Shanshui City section:

[1] Yu Hui, Nicolas Leduc, Tan Hui, Florian Rochereau, Jin Shihui, Chaoyang Park Plaza Tower: Design and Construction of complex geometry facade, GPD 2017.