The Building on the Water


2010 - 2014


China, Huai’an City, Jiangsu




Like a Dragon

Like a coiled, sleeping dragon, this office building floats on the water of the lake, which is also the dam for the Shihlien Chemical Industrial factory in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, PRC.

The idea of placing the main office building on water was implicit in the master plan for the factory, as this primarily chemical industry needs a reservoir to ensure its permanent, constant production.

The curved shape of the volume, accessed across two bridges, makes it seem to move as one approach and moves away.

The extremely simple organization is distributed on two levels: the main entrance is on the east side, where the central foyer provides access to the work area in a south-facing unit, with another north-facing unit for the social and exhibition zones. The service entrance, restaurant and kitchen areas all face north. The administration zones and facilities of the associate companies are on the upper floor.

The highlights of the main body include the volumes for the special zones such as the meeting rooms and the auditorium. Stairs, bridges and a ramped bridge facilitate accessibility, functionality and circulation between the spaces.

White concrete, aluminum/wood window frames and glass characterize the materiality of the building in contrast to the fluidity of the water body that supports it.

The building moves, always displaying its different forms with controlled elegance, exposed to light and shadows, with changing colors and reflections.

As architecture should it be.


Carlos Castanheira

+ -




Álvaro Siza


Carlos Castanheira

Office in Portugal:

CC&CB – Architects, Lda.

Project Architects:

1st phase (preliminary project)

Pedro Carvalho (2010)

Luís Reis (2010-2011)

2st phase (execution project)

Luís Trigueiros Reis (2010-2014)

Project Team:

Diana Vasconcelos

Susana Oliveira

Elisabete Queirós

Orlando Sousa

Rita Ferreira

João Figueiredo

Caitriona Maclip

Carolina Leite

Anand Sonecha

Sofia Conceição

3d models/renders:

Francesco Sechi

João Figueiredo

Pedro Afonso

José Soares


Local Permit Architects and Engineers:

United Architects & Engineers Co., Ltd



United Architects & Engineers Co., Ltd


Shanghai Qingya Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Co.


Shanghai Qingya Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Co.

Project management & Construction supervision:

Stephen Wang & Richard Wang with Chiou-Hui Lin

Engineering consultants:



Construction and Engineering Projects, Lda.


G E T –

Thermal Management System, Lda



Project Business Consulting, Lda

Waterproofing of the concrete construction:


Solutions and construction products, SA

Structural review:

RFR Shanghai

Water drainage:

Geberit China

Creative Integration Consultant:

Xue Xue Institute

Xue Xue Foundation


Por-Shih Lin, Chairman,

Shihlien Chemical Industrial Jiangsu Co.

Construction company:

Zhejiang Urban Construction Group

Site area:

103 000 m2

Built area or Total floor area:

14 000 m2


Álvaro Negrello


Fernando Guerra FG+SG

Fotografia de Arquitectura

Photography during construction time:

Carlos Castanheira

Stephen Wang

Richard Wang

Luís Trigueiros Reis

Model photos:

Luís Trigueiros Reis


2015 – Awarded by the International Archdaily Platform in the category: “Office building of the year 2015”, Jiangsu, China.

2016 – Project Selected for the Archmarathon Awards

2020 – One of the finalist projects of Secil Award