Linked Hybrid Beijing, China By Steven Holl

PROGRAM: 644 apartments, public green space, commercial zones, hotel, cinemateque, kindergarten, Montessori school, underground parking.
SIZE: 221,426 smCLIENT: Modern Green Development Co., Ltd. Beijing

The 220,000 square meter pedestrian-oriented Linked Hybrid complex, sited adjacent to the site of old city wall of Beijing, aims to counter the current privatized urban developments in China by creating a new twenty-first century porous urban space, inviting and open to the public from every side. Filmic urban public space; around, over and through multifaceted spatial layers, as well as the many passages through the project, make the Linked Hybrid an “open city within a city”. The project promotes interactive relations and encourages encounters in the public spaces that vary from commercial, residential, and educational to recreational. The entire complex is a three-dimensional urban space in which buildings on the ground, under the ground and over the ground are fused together.

The ground level offers a number of open passages for all people (residents and visitors) to walk through. These passages ensure a micro-urbanisms of small scale. Shops activate the urban space surrounding the large reflecting pond. On the intermediate level of the lower buildings, public roofs gardens offer tranquil green spaces, and at the top of the eight residential towers private roof gardens are connected to the penthouses. All public functions on the ground level, – including a restaurant, hotel, Montessori school, kindergarten, and cinema – have connections with the green spaces surrounding and penetrating the project. The elevator displaces like a “jump cut” to another series of passages on a higher levels. From the 12th to the 18th floor a multi-functional series of skybridges with a swimming pool, a fitness room, a café, a gallery, auditorium and a mini salon connects the eight residential towers and the hotel tower, and offers spectacular views over the unfolding city. Programmatically this loop aspires to be semi-lattice-like rather than simplistically linear. We hope the public sky-loop and the base-loop will constantly generate random relationships. They will function as social condensers resulting in a special experience of city life to both residents and visitors.

Geo-thermal wells (655 at 100 meters deep) provide Linked Hybrid with cooling in summer and heating in winter, and make it one of the largest green residential projects in the world.


Press Views: 



“Having just completed the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, Steven Holl Architects has established itself among the top of this ground-breaking pack. Their eight-tower structure, attached by floating walkways, received this year’s award by the International Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat for the best new tall building in ‘Asia and Australasia’ and was also designed to qualify for a LEED Gold certification…”
-Marcus Schulz, China Daily

“Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid complex offers an alternative model of residential developments – one that applies striking, Modern architecture to the age-old patterns of housing mixed with shopping, dining, education, and entertainment. Holl and his Beijing-based partner Li Hu made a concerted effort to open the 2.37-million-square-foot development to the surrounding area, welcoming nonresidents to its grassy perimeter and landscaped central plaza. And throughout the project, the architects employed an impressive set of sustainable design strategies, pointing this heavily polluted city in a new direction.”
-Clifford Pearson, Architectural Record

“Having just completed the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, Steven Holl Architects has established itself among the top of this ground-breaking pack. Their eight-tower structure, attached by floating walkways, received this year’s award by the International Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat for the best new tall building in “Asia and Australasia” and was also designed to qualify for a LEED Gold certification, the second-highest LEED rating obtainable. The Linked Hybrid has one of the largest geothermal cooling and heating systems in the world, exemplifying energy efficiency in new Chinese developments. … However, being energy efficient is not the only aspect to becoming LEED certified, says Li Hu, the partner of Steven Holl Architects and director of projects in China. The production of building materials, managing construction sites to avoid pollution and dealing with construction waste also count when earning points for certification.”
-Marcus Schulz, China Daily

‘(…) a new development designed by the New York architect Steven Holl – a cluster of linked apartment buildings – displays a boldness that would be unlikely to escape compromise in a Western city. (…) its most notable feature is a bridge – or, rather, bridges – high in the air. (…) The idea of the street high above the city is intended to counteract the sense of isolation that high-rise living usually brings, and to create an incentive for residents to walk around the complex. (…) The bridges are spectacular, inside and out, and one can imagine that there will be an allure to walking in the air from tower to tower that having a cup of coffee on the ground can’t match.’
-Paul Goldberger, The New Yorker

‘If the architect’s own vision is progressive, can architecture be a vehicle for positive change? (..) Architects like Steven Holl cast their decision to build in China as a way of promoting a connection between East and West. (..) Mr. Holl said, “my position as an architect is to work in the spirit of international civilization and cooperation. You have to make a contribution.”‘
-Robin Pogrebin, New York Times

“With its eight colourful towers, unusual sky-bridge links, and central diamond-shaped glass structures, Holl’s mixed-use scheme stands out from the skyline’s more severe concrete skyscrapers. Ecological, luxurious, inspirationally designed, with a community feel and great links to the cultural hub of Beijing […] the Linked Hybrid will mark the city’s post-Olympics architectural era – bridging, through design, the East and the West.”
-Ellie Stathaki, Wallpaper

‘A spectacular complex of eight residential towers with a hotel, cinema and school – all connected by bridges that will form a street in the sky’.
-Aric Chen, Whitewall, March, 2007

“The Linked Hybrid, on the other hand, true to its nerdy name, has an enthusiastic Erector Set complexity, and only gets more interesting as you wander through. It’s a deeply ingenious piece of architecture, rich with ideas and virtuoso engineering.”
-Kurt Andersen, Vanity Fair

Linked Hybrid,” is one of the most innovative housing complexes anywhere in the world: eight asymmetrical towers joined by a network of enclosed bridges that create a pedestrian zone in the sky. [..] Take Holl’s Linked Hybrid in Beijing, for example, which has a surprisingly open, communal spirit. A series of massive portals lead from the street to an elaborate internal courtyard garden, a restaurant, a theater and a kindergarten, integrating the complex into the surrounding neighborhood. Bridges connect the towers above ground and are conceived as a continuous ring of public zones, with bars and nightclubs overlooking a glittering view of the city and a suspended swimming pool.
-The New York Times – T Magazine

‘Beijing’s most innovative new residential project – dubbed Linked Hybrid by its architects, New York-based Steven Holl – connects eight 22-story towers at their upper floors with pedestrian bridges. … The 2.4-million-square-foot complex is also linked to the surrounding city, thanks to shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and a central park, all open to the public.’
-Condé Nast Traveler

‘One of the ten coolest eco-friendly buildings in the world – One of the largest geothermal projects on earth’.
-GQ, September, 2007

Cool Complex: The climate of the Linked Hybrid housing project is controlled by circulating groundwater from 328 feet down.
-Dec 1, 2006

  • Popular Science Engineering Award for Largest Geothermal Housing Complex, USA, 2006

  • general contractor
– Beijing Construction Engineering Group
  • architect
– Steven Holl Architects
  • Steven Holl, Li Hu (design architect)
  • Li Hu (partner in charge)
  • Hideki Hirahara (senior associate in charge)
  • Yenling Chen (assistant project architect)
  • Chris McVoy, Tim Bade (technical advisor)
  • Garrick Ambrose, Yimei Chan, Rodolfo Dias, Gong Dong, Peter Englaender, Guido Guscianna, Young Jang, Edward Lalonde, JongSeo Lee, Richard Liu, James MacGillivray, Matthew Uselman (project designer)
  • Jason Anderson, Lei Bao, Christian Beerli, Johnna Brazier, Cosimo Caggiula, Kefei Cai, Guanlan Cao, Shih-I Chow, Sofie Holm Christensen, Frank-Olivier Cottier, Christiane Deptolla, Mike Fung, M. Emran Hossain, Gyoung-Nam Kwon, Eric Li, Tz-Li Lin, Clark Manning, Maki Matsubayashi, Giorgos Mitroulias, Daijiro Nakayama, Olaf Schmidt, Judith Tse, Li Wang, Ariane Wiegner, Lan Wu, Noah Yaffe, Liang Zhao (project team)


  • associate architects
– Beijing Capital Engineering Architecture Design Co. LTD
  • structural engineer
– Guy Nordenson and Associates
– China Academy of Building Research
  • mechanical engineer
– Transsolar
– Beijing Capital Engineering Architecture Design Co. LTD
– Cosentini Associates
  • lighting consultant
– L’Observatoire International
  • curtain wall consultant
– Front Inc.
– Xi’an Aircraft Industry Company LTD
– Yuanda Curtain-wall
– Jianghe
– Xi-Fei
  • landscape architect
– Steven Holl Architects
– EDAW Beijing
  • interior designer
– Steven Holl Architects
– China National Decoration Co., LTD

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