Architects behind Apple's 'spaceship' unveil new building for drone giant DJI

A skybridge for flight tests and robot fighting rings. Welcome to DJI's new Shenzhen digs.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

The architectural firm behind Apple's "spaceship" campus has revealed design plans for DJI's forthcoming Shenzhen headquarters.

As you might expect, the building is conceptually futuristic and laid through with design quirks befitting what, by some metrics, is the largest robotics company in the world.

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DJI teamed up with Foster and Partners for the massive construction project, which is already underway in Shenzhen's Nanshan District. Construction is expected to be finished in 2019.

In addition to Apple, Foster and Partners has designed high-profile projects for major commercial and civic institutions, including Bloomberg, McLaren, and IBM.


The DJI building is built around two bridged towers. One will house R&D spaces and the other the company's office and public function spaces.

According to Foster and Partners, splitting the space this way will allow "for efficient security and access control."

A series of gardens inspired by minimalist zen features will adorn the ground level, and office space above will be arranged in "floating volumes cantilevered from central cores by large megatrusses and circular profiled steel hangers."

The trussed structure reduces the need for interior columns, which is especially important in the high-ceilinged flight testing labs.

Additional gardens will be placed atop the office space.

Linking the towers is a skybridge. The architects intend for the skybridge and upper gardens to serve as an additional showcase for new drone technology.

In keeping with the campus approach common to Silicon Valley, DJI's new Shenzhen digs will have ample facilities to encourage workers to stay on site, including gym and event spaces, as well as a theater for public product launches.

Peculiar to DJI, the new building will also have designated robot fighting rings.

It's a nod, perhaps, to the still niche pastime of drone fighting, which could be a market where DJI is looking to expand.

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