The Giant Interactive Group Campus by Morphosis Architects is huge and impressive without reading too much like a behemoth. Of course, it helps to have the exceptionally talented Iwan Baan photograph your shiny, new 260,000 square foot corporate headquarters, but it also helps to break up the mass of the building with an undulating green roof, exterior courtyards, and a road. The road divides the campus into two halves: a half for work and a half for play. A central circulation spine jumps the road to connect the two halves, and continues into the center of the recreational spaces, but stays to one side the office programming that terminates in a cantilevered conference room with a glass floor. (Morphosis also designed a glass-floored conference room at Caltrans Headquarters in downtown LA.)
I was lucky enough to hear Morphosis’s Thom Mayne speak at the Hammer Museum about this project in 2009; that is, when he could get in a word between critics Sylvia Lavin and Jeffrey Kipnis. The conversation between the three started out as a talk about urbanization in China, but evolved into questioning the parallels between migrating picture frames and cantilevers (true story) and concluded with both critics agreeing that Mr. Mayne did “interesting things with the ground.” The conversation was witty, a little tipsy, and I wish it had been longer. I’ve been excited to see the Giant Interactive Group project finish and thrilled to see it photographed by Iwan Baan.
P.S. Happy Birthday to Thom Mayne, who turns 69 today.