We are pleased to announce that the consortium of Synthesis Design + Architecture Inc. (Los Angeles, USA/London, UK) and Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Co. Ltd (Shenzhen, China) have been awarded first place in the invited international design competition for the Shanghai Wuzhou International Plaza. Our scheme, entitled “Urban Canyon”, beat out other invited entries by GMP (Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner), Shanghai Xi Jie Design Institute, and Shanghai Dushi Architectural Design Institute. Full project details are listed below.
Design Statement: Situated along Huatai Road in the third ring of the urban metropolis of Shanghai, the Shanghai Wuzhou International plaza embodies the energy and vibrancy of the cities distinct urban environment. Inspired by traditional Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang, the “Urban Canyon” is organized as two nested rock-like volumes which have been broken apart to reveal a flowing canyon condition which connects the project to the urban fabric of the city. The northern block features an enclosed 4 story luxury retail shopping podium anchored by the corporate headquarters of developer Hong Kong Wuzhou International Group and a 5 star hotel tower. The southern block is composed of a 4 level retail, lifestyle and entertainment complex anchored by two office towers. The fluid canyon condition connects the two entry plazas of the site with a “river” of free-standing detached retail units with a network of connective sky bridges, while simultaneously curating a series of framed views within the site. A series of green space “islands” are distributed within the river to provide natural shading and to soften the urban condition. At the mouth of each canyon is a landscaped entry plaza framed by the portal created by its respective towers. Integrated landscaping, furnishings, and lighting within the plaza hard-scape are arranged in pulse like formations which stimulate and encourage visual and pedestrian activity.
The dynamic patterning of the plaza is further expressed in the striated articulations that define the pattern of the cladding. This pattern embodies the pulses of activity and urban energy of the city to merge façade with roof and podium with tower, which is conceptualized as the river that has carved the canyon. The façade is to be clad with RHEINZINK standing-seam titanium zinc panels, while the roof system utilizes RHEINZINK double standing-seam titanium zinc panels. The roof area is equipped with interior gutters at its lowest points and is covered with perforated standing-seam profiles to protect it from soiling. The building material needs no maintenance because of the material’s patina, which develops during the course of natural weathering and protects it from corrosion. The patina is a layer of zinc carbonate, which regenerates itself.