10 Design Residential and Retail Rendering

 Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN

For this master plan development in China’s capital city, the client wanted to achieve a 3-Star China Green Building Label[1]. To deliver this performance goal, 10 DESIGN focused on ecological principles and early stage analysis to maximise the use of existing site conditions and deliver an optimised and efficient design.

10 Design Concept drawing

 Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN

Project Stats

Project type: Master Planning, Architecture

Location: Beijing, China

Client: Public Private Partnership

Building type / program: Commercial, Residential, Retail

Site Area: 5 hectare

Floor area: 180,000m2

Number of blocks / Height / Stories: 18 blocks, 52-120m, 18-24 stories

Project stage & completion date: Concept Design, 2014

Performance Baseline: ASHRAE 90.1 2007

Sustainable Certification Level: 3 Star China Green Building Label


The 10 DESIGN team sought to maximise all passive advantages through a beneficial arrangement of the urban scheme:

  • Solar and wind analysis helped the team optimise the master plan for natural ventilation and daylight harvesting.
  • Envelope and systems analysis supported efforts to incorporate high specification fabrics and active systems such as advanced HVAC and renewables.

10 DESIGN used results from these analyses to present three progressively ambitious designs to the client. Each design was on track to reduce overall energy use by up to 40% below the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline. The following describes the steps they took to meet project goals, given an aggressive schedule, broad programmatic needs and budget constraints:

10 Design Beijing Masterplan

The Garden’s iconic towers are shaped to enhance daylight, natural ventilation and water management strategies. Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN

Site Analysis & Natural Systems

Analysis of the environmental and urban context enabled 10 DESIGN to understand the opportunities and challenges for the design.


Building footprints were set well within zoning-mandated setbacks, thus creating a porous site conducive to natural ventilation. Green spaces and landscaped areas were incorporated to strategically manage stormwater and create intimate courtyards, provide privacy to the residential spaces and identity to the commercial office spaces.


Internal spaces required broad access to daylight on the coldest days of the year.  Building massing and siting ensured this requirement was met.

10 Design Natural Systems

The climate and urban context are taken into account to introduce natural systems throughout the site. Analysis done independent of Sefaira. Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN

Driving Form

10 Design were able to identify the concept that best harnessed natural ventilation and daylight harvesting opportunities.

Sefaira was used to compare various forms and develop optimal orientations for energy use. Focusing on the landmark tower, three design options were uploaded to Sefaira’s Web App for comparative analysis, each calibrated with the same baseline and passive improvements. The multiple forms had similar performance results — notably, the non-linear floor plan was selected because it improved wind flow across the site and through the building, while also reducing lateral stress loads.

In addition, the two iconic gateway towers create a clear focal point for the mas­terplan, and a clear identity for the office spaces. Their form was specifically driven to enhance the stack and cross  ventilation opportunities as well as daylight harvesting.

10 Design Driving Form

Whitebox models of the three different tower forms and conceptual ventilation strategies. Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN


With the master plan fixed, 10 DESIGN turned their attention toward optimising building envelope and systems performance. They also explored the potential impact of renewables.

They analysed the landmark office towers as well as two other typical building forms to achieve three tiers of performance.

  • Baseline option (Includes passive optimisation)
  • Efficient option (Shading + Envelope + HVAC improvements)
  • High performance option (Shading + Envelope + HVAC improvements + Natural Ventilation)

Each iteration was more aggressive to help illustrate to the client the investment cost vs. savings for each strategy, and demonstrate the opportunity for long term investment.

1 Typical Residential Block 2 Typical Office Block 3 Tower Block

Tables showing energy and carbon performance results from Sefaira analysis

06_Integrated Design

 Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN


10 Design were able to create and present three scenarios for energy performance to the client. Each scenario already incorporated the broad reductions from passive strategies. By integrating envelope, and HVAC strategies, they were able to achieve and exceed a 40% reduction over an ASHRAE 90.1 2007 baseline for all the building typologies in the masterplan.

4 Improvements on Tower Block

Table showing Energy Use Intensity improvements across design options – Sefaira analysis


Conceptual systems diagram illustrates holistic integration across site. Graphs show monthly consumption – Sefaira analysis. Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN

Sean Quinn, Sustainability Director at 10 Design said, “As happens on many projects during the concept phase, we had to balance an aggressive schedule, broad programmatic needs, and budgetary constraints and optimise for performance. Sefaira’s SketchUp Plug-In enabled us to rapidly develop the building form in a real-time environment. This has been excellent to inform our staff about the principles of performance in an intuitive and timely fashion.


 Image courtesy of 10 DESIGN

About 10 Design

10 Design is a leading international partnership of architectural, urban, landscape and interior designers and animators operating out of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Edinburgh & Dubai. Their practice incorporates energy and environmental analysis on every project from mega-scale urban master plans to individual home designs. Read our previous post on how they approach extreme climatic conditions to deliver sustainable multicultural designs.