The plan for the new Keppel Cove clubhouse and marina in Zhongshan, on the River Xi, by UNStudio Asia is part of an ambitious masterplan including a private marina right on the river, luxury homes and supporting infrastructure such as a bridge, roads and dikes. UNStudio, the world-renowned Dutch architectural studio founded by Ben van Berkel, is in charge of the project through its UNStudio Asia division, directed by Hannes Pfau, with offices in Shanghai and Tokyo which are busy supervising a number of projects at the moment.
The architects have designed a building with a bold identity which looks different from different points of view. The principal path to the clubhouse, consisting of a pedestrian and vehicle bridge, creates a feeling of expectation, one might even say suspense. The sculptural volume of the building, covered with bronze-coloured aluminium panels, comes into view gradually. When seen from above, looking from the land toward the water, the construction appears to be a natural extension of the main access routes and the most interesting points of view. Shaped like a fan opening toward the marine, it appears to be a continuum with the path, a place where one can break away from the frantic pace of daily life to enjoy the tranquillity and relaxation of boating. On the opposite side, visitors immediately see an open wall made almost entirely of glass, making the most of the panoramic view over the river and reflected in the water, so that it appears golden.
The project also included the landscape around the clubhouse, organising different views over its natural surroundings with panoramic points overlooking the river and the gently rolling Shenwan landscape, while protecting the privacy of the homes in the area.
The building’s interior is designed to recall the inside of a luxury cruise ship or a mega-yacht. The architects have designed big open spaces in the volume shaped like funnels cutting across the building. These "funnels" create connections from one side of the clubhouse to the other, overcoming differences in level with stairs and ramps providing access to different levels. Going beyond the traditional subdivision into floors, space is treated as liquid and continuous, so that people can cross the volume of the clubhouse without any interruptions. Through these spaces, a constant visual relationship and a strong interior/exterior relationship is established, as well as helping to keep the spaces cool thanks to natural cross-ventilation. Daylight coming in through the big rooftop skylight and the east-west windows creates a subtle effect of contrasts between light and shadow, underlining the fluidity of the space.
Location: Shenwanzhen, Zhongshan Prefecture, Guangdong Province, China
Building typology: mixed use: hospitality, F&B, retail
Credits: UNStudio, Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau
Project Team: Gordana Jakimovska, Joerg Lonkwitz, Adriana Rodriguez Ossio, Alexander Schramm, Alice Yi-Ting Chiu, Iris Pastor, Caroline Filice Smith, Jean Chaussavoine, Jun Wang, Irina Bogdan, Leo Xinyu Li, Gilles Greis, Alexander Meyers, Sam Jia Jun Ren, Tamim Salah EI Negm, Evan Jon Shieh, Rafael Carbonero Vicario.
Team Members in different Project Phases: Alan Chin-Che Hung, Fernie Lai, Maya Alam, Cristina Gimenez, Juergen Heinzel, Yeojoon Yoon, Yu-Chen Liu, Dan Luo, Edwin Hang Jiang, Yichi ZHANG, Fabian Alejandr Mazzola, Daniele De Benedictis, Yuwei Wang, Alberto Martinez Garcia, Huaiming Liao, Ana patricia Castaingts Gomez, Oliver Loesser, Craig Yan, Guomin Lin, Nathan Melenbrink, Duran Yuan Zhai, Margaret Juien-Hwang, Cecilia Hui, Earn Lee Chern, Lukas Allner, Justin Tao Cheng, Severin Ignaz Tuerk, Yuwei Wang.
Advisors: P&T (structure), Hyder (facade), B+H (landscape), Squiremech (MEP), Lighting Images (Lighting), Thyssen (lifts), Earth In Mind (green energy), AECOM (bridge structure)
Photos & Video: © Tom Roe