58 Panyu Road


People's Republic of China


Kengo Kuma 2006


Z58, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is a glamorous office building formed by extending an earlier reinforced-concrete clock factory both upward and outward with a new steel frame.


Its visible front to the street, simultaneously brash and reserved, is its open stainless steel facade. The brightness of the steel, the drama of its reflections, and the abundance of the planting create a strong statement in the quiet and traditional street.



While the steel wall is quite a barrier in one way, the openness of its glazed strips, looking into a generous atrium of glass and water, is designed precisely to avoid being a barrier. The wall facing the street is a permeable outer wall, creating a gradual transition from outside to inside. This use of an extra exterior glass wall is reminiscent of the Fondation Cartier, but at Z58 the effect is not so permable: you can't really see through it, and the atrium within is closed to the public, so the transition from outside to inside in fact feels quite sudden.



Transparency and water are themes throughout the building. Inside the atrium the full-height inner wall is also glazed, with a waterfall running down it to a pool in the floor (unfortunately under maintenance when photographed above). In the office floors, converted from the clock factory, the interior partitions are all in clear glass. The new top floor is a 'water pavilion' with guest rooms, lounge and café all around a large floor-level pool.


Simon Glynn 2011

How to visit


Z58 is not open to the public, but you can see the facade and look into atrium from its frontage on Panyu Road, and the garden immediately to the south - see map below.





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