Designing this economic gateway to the city of Shenzhen in China was not straightforward, given prevailing economic and demographic pressures but the Mecanoo studio cleverly created a series of buildings far removed from formal design rhetoric. The project comprises a series of 50-meter wide architectural structures on the 3.8 hectare site. Elegantly cohesive, the entire construction is 400 meters in length and no higher than 25 meters, due to strict planning restrictions on height.
To create the chain of buildings, with their unique and in some ways rippling shape, the architects decided to remove the link between the shell and its contents. In this way, the structures with their vast sloping walls, are engrossing both inside and out, creating the thrill of discovery in this construction, something which is sometimes lacking in modern architectural designs, which are often beautiful only from inside or outside.
The project’s immense reinforced concrete interlocking framework which is around 60cm thick, while visible on the inside, is covered on the outside by amaranth-colored aluminum cladding. A design choice that creates a stunning effect when you enter, due also to the long strips of tinted glass windows, which accentuate the horizontal layout of the buildings externally, an effect not replicated inside. Not to mention the impressive scale of the structures which reach an incredible height of 24.3 meters from the base.
Insulating cladding covers the external surface of the concrete structure as is usual, although it appears to be incorporated in a special composite outer layer, while the aluminum is separate from it, in order to enable proper ventilation and effortlessly achieve excellent performance.
Programme Cultural complex of 95,000 m2 with art museum (13,500 m2), science centre (10,000 m2), youth centre (8,000 m2), retail (7,000 m2) and a book mall including cafes and restaurants (35,000 m2) and 21,500 m2 of underground parking and a new public square totalling 3.8 hectares.
Building: 400m long, 50m wide, 25m high
Client Longgang Government, Vanke and SPDG, Shenzhen, China
Local architect CCDI, Shenzhen, China