Located in a residential area 20 minutes from central Shanghai, 1000 Trees is a mixed use development spanning 300,000 square metres. The 15 acre site is located next to the M50 arts district and a public park. The development is split over two plots of land connected by a narrow government plot and incorporates several historic buildings.
Designed by Heatherwick Studio for the developer Tian An China, 1000 Trees is conceived not only as a building but as a piece of topography and takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by hundreds of columns. Rather than hiding the columns which provide structural support, the columns emerge at the top of the building as large planters, each holding a handful of trees.
Existing planning permission for two conventional shopping mall blocks had been granted for the site, but a huge, boxy building would need to be broken into smaller pieces in order to fit in with the surroundings. The integrated planting acts as a natural balancing element and the building’s edges are lowered to minimise the impact where it meets the art district and park, reducing the discernible threshold between them.