Nanjing International Youth Culture Centre (IYCC)

Nanjing, China

Buro Happold, together with Zaha Hadid Architects, won an international competition for the design of a new facility associated with the 2014 Youth Olympic Games held in Nanjing.

The resulting development takes centre stage in the city comprising two majestic towers, of 300 metres and 250 metres respectively, which provide amenities that include a breathtaking 47 metre high conference centre, offices, and a 5-star hotel.


The towers had to meet the stringent seismic requirements set out by the People’s Republic of China design codes, which stipulate that such structures must have a dual earthquake resisting system. We also had to design a facade that would realise the smooth, contemporary curves envisaged in by the architect.

The resulting development takes centre stage in the city comprising two majestic towers. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects


Buro Happold brought together seismic experts from across their offices in Hong Kong, the Middle East and the UK to create an integrated team with the experience and expertise required to develop a technically excellent design that ensured the stability of both towers and the safety of their users.

The resultant design for each tower features a concrete core-wall primary system, backed up by an external steel frame. Together, these create a secure system and also one that is highly efficient, keeping each building’s core as small as possible to maximise the usable internal floor area.

The facade we developed for the towers is formed of a modularised cast concrete skin, which sits directly on top of the smooth steel framework and creates the seamless finish desired by the architect.

By working collaboratively, we were able to harness the power of imaginative design and intelligent engineering to realise a shared vision. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects


The Buro Happold team played a key role in ensuring the tall towers of the Nanjing YCC stand as both a flagship development in honour of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and a dynamic addition to the cityscape. Their fluid grace connects the natural landscape of the river with the urban vitality of the city, creating an important and enduring union that will be enjoyed by generations to come.

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