The Liuxiandong headquarter base in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District is one of the most popular office sites for technology companies in China. It is here that, in 2016, Chinese drone giant DJI started the construction of its global headquarters. The headquarters named “Sky City” was officially opened on September 26 and will house nearly 8,000 DJI employees.
DJI was founded in 2006 in a residential building in Shenzhen’s Futian District. Over the next 16 years, DJI employees have moved from one office to another as the company built itself up. With “Sky City”, four of the company’s divisions, including UAV, R&D and innovation, operation services and supporting services, will be housed under one roof.
“It’s the biggest, most difficult and most expensive product of DJI, with the longest development cycle,” Zhang Xiaonan, a spokesperson for DJI, said at the building’s opening event.
DJI’s “Sky City”, which covers 17,600 square meters with a floor area of about 240,000 square meters, was designed by British architecture firm Foster + Partners and DJI. The building is composed of two super high-rise towers in the east and west. The east tower has 44 floors and stands 211.6 meters high, while the west tower has 40 floors and measures 193.1 meters high. The two towers are connected by a bridge on the 24th floor.
Instead of a symmetrical design, each tower relies on the core cylinder to hover six huge steel glass blocks (also known as boxes). Twelve boxes are stacked in dislocation, thus forming an asymmetric structural system. “Sky City” is also the world’s first asymmetrically suspended, all-steel, super high-rise building over 200 meters high.
The main architect, Young Chiu, said in his speech that he adapted a design scheme tailored exclusively for DJI. The building has no columns inside, and each box is topped by steel truss spaces, which can be used for UAV test flights, as well as preparation for the subsequent flexible office space.
Chiu revealed that in the process of building design, DJI internally deployed dozens of R&D engineers from different departments, including structural design and industrial designers, to support the construction. In addition, DJI’s rarely seen founder Frank Wang was also involved in the design process.
If viewed from the different facades around the compound, DJI’s “Sky City” has different landscapes. The positions of each box provides two or three workspaces of different sizes for the same floor, a plan that aims to accommodate the collaborative work that goes on inside DJI.
Unlike other corporate headquarters, there is no logo or billboard inside DJI’s “Sky City”. Besides the black pine at the entrance of the lobby on the first floor, there is no obvious welcoming area. Looking at the building from the outside, even passersby would have difficulty identifying it as DJI’s office building.
“It’s similar to DJI’s style which is to immerse ourselves in product research,” Zhang said. The “Sky City” compound will greatly assist the company in undertaking major research and development work. Currently, DJI has around 14,000 employees worldwide.