For millennia, the solid building stands on a solid base; it is an image that has survived modernity. Typically, the base anchors a structure and connects it emphatically to the ground. The essence of the stock market is speculation: it is based on capital, not gravity. In the case of Shenzhen’s almost virtual stock market, the role of symbolism exceeds that of the program – it is a building that has to represent the stock market, more than physically accommodate it. It is not a trading arena with offices, but an office with virtual organs that suggest and illustrate the process of the market.All of these factors suggest an architectural invention: our project is a building with a floating base. As if it is lifted by the same speculative euphoria that drives the market, the former base has crept up the tower to become a raised platform. Lifting the base in the air vastly increases its exposure; in its elevated position, it can ‘broadcast’ the activities of the stock market to the entire city. The space liberated on the ground can be used as a covered urban plaza, large enough to accommodate public events. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange – which will rise to 246m – is planned as a financial centre with civic meaning, located in a new public square at the meeting point of the north-south axis between Mount Lianhua and Binhe Boulevard, and the east-west axis of Shennan Road, Shenzhen’s main artery.The raised base of the SZSE is a three-storey cantilevering platform floating 36m above the ground, with a floor area of 48,000m2 and an accessible roof garden. The platform and lower tower contain the dedicated stock exchange functions, including an international conference centers, exhibition spaces, listing hall, and market watching department. The tower is flanked by two atria – a void connecting the ground directly with the trading floor. Staff enter to the west, the public to the east. Surrounding the west atrium is a 20,000 sqm base of commercial facilities. SZSE executive offices are located just above the rasied podium leaving the uppermost floors free for rental offices and a VIP club.The generic rectangular form of the tower obediently follows the surrounding homogenous towers, but the SZSE facade is different. The tower’s structure is a robust exoskeletal grid overlayed with a patterned glass skin – the first time this type of glass has been used for an exterior in China. The patterned glass reveals the detail and complexity of construction while creating a mysterious crystalline effect as the tower responds to light: sparkling during bright sunshine, mute on an overcast day, radiant at dusk, glimmering during rain, and glowing at night.The SZSE building is designed to be one of the first 3 star green rated buildings in China. It utilizes passive shading through recessed openings that form a ‘deep’ facade reducing the amount of solar heat gain entering the building, improving natural day lighting while reducing the energy consumption. Intelligent lighting systems shut down the interior day lighting when spaces are not in use. Rainwater collection systems are used and the landscape design is permeable to collect water locally and reduce run-off.Façade construction is in progress on the tower’s 46 floors, and the 200,000 sqm building is scheduled for completion in August 2012. The three-story floating podium is built with 27,000 tons of steel. A single joint in the supporting truss work weighs as much as 172 tons. OMA oversees the ambitious engineering and detailed design by working in an office with the client directly on the construction site – an unusual practice for foreign architects working in China. OMA’s team is led by Associate Michael Kokora, with general project management by Partner David Gianotten.