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Located about 15 kilometres outside of Beijing’s core, this first landmark tower for a new central business district recalls a Chinese paper lantern. Its diagrid, faceted facade is both exoskeleton and the building’s primary structure. Two layers of windows address air quality and temperature extremes. At each end of the building’s footprint, the floor plates and inner layer of glazing stop short of going full-ellipse to create two 29-storey atriums. The voids provide expansive views and visual communication between floors. They’re occasionally interrupted by various instances of flair: suspended conference rooms here, a multi-floor spiral staircase there and an open-air courtyard at the top.

Project: Poly International Plaza Location: Beijing, China Firm: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, USA

Team: Gene Schnair, Leo Chow, Mark Sarkisian, Keith Boswell and Larry Chien with Brian Cook, Rupa Garai, Neville Mathias, Brian Carl Mulder and Angela Wu

Poly International Plaza

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