DJI’s New Headquarters Took 6 Years to Build—Here’s What It Looks Like
BY Zacc Dukowitz4 October 2022
DJI just opened its new headquarters in the city of Shenzhen, China.
Called Sky City, the new home base for the world’s biggest drone company spans two high rises that reach a height of over 650 feet at their tallest, with one high rise that is 40 stories tall and another that is 44 stories tall.
The towers unite DJI employees who have been scattered among several Shenzhen buildings during the company’s rapid growth, bringing them into a purpose-built structure that puts physical form to the company’s name, Da-Jiang Innovations.
– Statement from DJI
Keep reading for a tour of Sky City (credit for all photos that appear in this article goes to DJI).
Sky City took six years to create.
This is incredible when you consider the sheer size of the sprawling headquarters.
Six years ago was the year 2016—the year the FAA rolled out its Part 107 rules, which is basically an eternity ago in the fast-moving drone world. But even way back then, DJI apparently knew that it would continue to dominate global drone sales, both for consumer and for commercial markets.
Sky City isn’t impressive just because it’s big, though its size alone is noteworthy.
It’s also impressive because of the slick, futuristic design of the two high rises, which are connected by a bridge that spans a gap of about 300 feet.
Sky City’s buildings and grounds were designed by award-winning architectural team Foster + Partners.
The buildings use a trick of the eye that makes it look like parts of them are floating in the air. This effect was accomplished by cantilevering (i.e., protruding from a stable center) sections of the building from its central core with large megatrusses.
According to DJI, the two high rises that make up Sky City constitute the first use of an asymmetrical suspension steel structure in high-rise towers of this scale.
Because of the cantilevered design the building doesn’t need columns, and their absence helps make the space inside the buildings more functional, allowing for an uninterrupted flow between working areas.
Up to now, DJI employees have been scattered, working in several different Shenzhen buildings, wherever the company happened to find space for its rapid expansion.
But now, with the launch of Sky City, all of the company’s departments are brought together in one location, with offices for research, development, and other core activities arranged into the different floating “volumes” that you see in the pictures above.
Another notable aspect of Sky City is all of the natural green incorporated into its design, in the form of various gardens.
At ground level, there is a sloping podium garden that is open to the public. The ground floor also has a community healthcare center and other public facilities.
Each of the lobbies showcases a black pine surrounded by a Zen garden, set against a striated wall made by the rammed-earth design process. The result is a harmonious combination of hard-pressed geometry and undulating nature, the progress of tomorrow and the roots of the past, complementing each other in peace.
– Statement from DJI
It’s also worth noting that Sky City was built to be a sustainable building.
The design of the two high rises’ floor plates maximizes daylight while reducing energy consumption, and they use a TWIN lift system that reduces the number of shafts required and increases usable office floor area.
This means DJI can get more use out of the square footage of the building, reducing the amount of energy needed by the number of employees working at any given time.
Sky City also has an intelligent control system that also allows for a reduction of energy consumption during off-peak periods, and a system for harvesting rainwater and storing it for reuse. Gray water produced by the complex is recycled for irrigation in the complex, which in turn helps the grounds mitigate the impact of heavy rain during monsoon season.
It took us six years to build the new DJI headquarters, which is the result of the wisdom and determination of DJI and our valued partners. We see Sky City as a product unlike any we’ve ever made: our real home. I hope that Sky City will inspire all of us to work together and scale new heights of progress, wisdom, and possibilities to develop solutions that benefit society.
– Frank Wang, Founder and CEO of DJI