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The Nexus is a 595m-tall mixed-use tower that is the centrepiece of a masterplan for China’s Pearl River Delta area. PLP Architecture revealed the plans for the skyscraper in February 2016.

To be located at a significant location within the central business district, the tower will be surrounded by three other buildings as part of the overall development of the metropolitan area.

The masterplan includes two towers, a performing arts complex and a series of connecting structures and bridges that will house retail and entertainment spaces. The development is expected to be completed by 2020.

Masterplan details

The masterplan features the Nexus, a super-tall building spread on an area of 758,052m², and accommodate office and hotel space.

A performing arts complex known as the Platform for Contemporary Arts with 1,700 seats is also planned, covering an area of 80,013m². Another 300m-tall, 291,485m² office tower, known as the LZ Park Tower, will also be built.

The concourse will feature retail and leisure facilities while providing connections among the three buildings.

The Nexus tower design

The design of the tower is based on an alternative skyscraper typology as proposed by the project architects. It aims at presenting an alternative to the prevalent style where a high-rise building is surrounded by usable space and serves as the central core.

The design is subsequently based on flexibility, views and vertical movement and inspired by the occupants of the tower. Instead of designing a building as a single slab that will have difficulties resisting lateral loads, the design of the tower is broken down into a number of volumes to create a tripod-like solution.

The Nexus tower accordingly consists of three rectilinear, rotated volumes of different heights that are interlocked together to give rise to a propeller-like form.

The tripartite design of the skyscraper positions the three volumes according to different points of reference. The lowest volume faces towards the city for magnificent views, the middle wing faces the adjacent park and the upper one provides views of the distant mountains.

Facilities at the Nexus

Displaying various heights, the lower volume will feature 44 storeys, the middle one rises to 83 floors and the upper volume tops off with 124 storeys.

The Nexus will principally be occupied by office establishments with an additional, eight storey-high, retail podium and a signature hotel at the top, occupying 14 storeys.

The tower will be accessible by three different entrances on the ground floor owing to its tripartite structure. The entrances will be for the office, hotel and retail space.

The high-rise building will be serviced by shuttle lifts that will operate on a decided frequent schedule stopping at two intermediate transfer levels. Double-decker lifts with panoramic views will facilitate movement from these levels to the building’s outer perimeter while doubling as mobile observation decks.

Another attraction available to the people using the building is access to the roof gardens located on the top of the transfer levels.

The flexible floorplan of the tower offers three distinct floor plate sizes, providing tenants with the option to choose an appropriate area according to their needs. It also encourages small tenants to possess a single floor plate for themselves.

The Nexus tower structure and facade

The structure of the tower functions as an outrigger that is laterally supported by three perimeter cores providing it with stability. Trusses located at the MEP or refuge floors hold together the central and perimeter cores of the structure.

The columns and the core walls will transfer the gravity load to the building’s foundation. The building is designed to resist lateral wind and seismic loading by placing the structural elements at the outermost locations, which makes the towers frame more efficient and effective.

The facade is jagged with a saw-tooth pattern that creates views of the outside from the middle section. A series of bay windows are formed along the perimeter of the tower transforming all offices into corner offices. The façade is created as a unitised panel system where every tooth is created as an individual panel.


The tower will function similar to a vertical city with high sustainability. It will feature a passive design that will enable daylight induction and a high-performance building envelope. It will be equipped with a responsive air-conditioning design and a high-efficiency energy system, which will include a centralised cooling system, lift power regeneration and building integrated photovoltaic.

The water conservation system of the building will comprise an integrated recycled water system and water-efficient fixtures.