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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Harbin Twin Towers in Harbin, China by spatial practice

September 3rd, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: spatial practice

(Harbin, China, August 29, 2013): spatial practice has designed the Harbin High Speed Railway (HSR) west train station Twin Towers. The iconic project includes: office spaces, residential apartments, retail spaces and a hyper link to a new underground infra-structural hub.

China has the world longest High Speed Rail (HSR) network that connects the entire country from north to south and from east to west. In the city of Harbin, the new West Train Station will become the northern China gateway connecting to China’s major cities with daily high-speed links to Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers Harbin City Gate.

  • Architects:  spatial practice
  • Project: Harbin Twin Towers
  • Location: Harbin, China
  • Client: Kaishengyuan Group
  • Program: Office, Residential, Retail, Parking and Landscape
  • Status: Design Proposal
  • Year: July, 2013
  • Partners in charge : Erik Amir, Dora Chi
  • Project Architect: Max Gerthel
  • Team: Calvin W. Liu, Cathal Peter Quinn, James Beadnall, Sarah GeXiaorui, Victor QuirosQuiros, Emily Wu
  • Local Architect: Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Structural Engineers: BuroHappold, Matthew Smith, Henry Li
  • Visualization: ADRI, German Glessner Group
  • Physical Model: Gereide Models Beijing

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers TheTower


Harbin West Station is a transportation hub linkedwith the high-speed train station, Subway and Bus Station.The Kaishengyuan Towers take full advantage of sitting on a transportation hub not only connected to main cities in China but hyper-connected to Harbin City main infrastructure. Distances are shortening, fostering faster business transactions and promoting communication.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers Bird’seye


Sharing the same DNA – but positioned differently – the Twin Towers form a new icon for the Haxi Business Development Zone.  The Towers creates a balanced relationship between empty and full, mass and void, private and public.  Each tower creates a program specific dialogue with the site, with the north SoHo and Service Apartment tower atrium opening toward the Plaza, and the south Office Tower atrium oriented toward the Business District.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers sky view of Microclimate atrium

Working & Living

In response to Harbin’s extreme climate conditions, interior multi functional green terraces are injected into the upper atrium spaces promoting a high quality and healthy working environment for the office tower, and creating comfortable and climate controlled recreational terraces for the luxury residences.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers interior view of Microclimate atrium


The towers perform as the Digital Gate framing the city and station. The integrated media facades frame and activate the adjacent plaza promoting communication and social interaction between travellers, commuters and residents. The suspended microclimate atriums create a new typology of indoor spaces that promotes human interactions.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers night gate

ON spatial practice:

spatial practice believes in greatness. We strive to realize desires and dreams.

spatial practice is an accumulation of ideas, people and circumstances. We believe that true design is about bringing order into complexity – a dynamic complexity – the essential feature of human beings, a culture, or a society.

we look beyond basic conditions and restrictions – such as site, zoning, program and budget – to identify the essence of each spatial intervention. we catalyze architectural and formal thinking into a deeper context that concerns human interactions in specific cultural, social, and economic settings. 

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers Bird’s eye model

committed to creative-thinking and thorough decision-making, we design as a team. we collaborate with some of the best creative minds from different fieldsto create a dynamic and open platform that confronts and addresses spatial issues with a wide spectrum of insights.  in constant operation, the office’s research arm, spatial tactics, strategically nourishes this platform through continuous investigations, lecture series, publications by playing with polarities and differential, from ordinary to extraordinary.

since its formation, spatial practicehas paid particular attention to materialize the concept by confronting the necessary constraints along the way. we devote equal rigor and criticality to every project stage, regardless of scale.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers section of gates

spatial practice is formed by Dora Chi & Erik Amir as a collaborative international office for architecture, urbanism and design. Previous to opening spatial practice, we collectively have worked for some of the best and creative architects in the world including I.M. Pei, Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster, Michael Arad, Jean Nouvel, and Rafael Vinoly.  Projects include several residential towers in Taiwan; iconic towers in Harbin West Rail Station master plans in China and Taiwan; eco-spine twin towers in Beijing CBD; a maritime and pop center in Kaohsiung; a mixed use urban redevelopment complex in Parramatta, Australia; an arts center in Maribor, Slovenia; a renovation of a corporate headquarters in Beijing; several fashion showrooms and boutiques in Paris; an interactive installation for Montblanc in Beijing; private residences in Beijing and Israel; among others.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin plan L shape rotation.

Erik Amir is an Israeli, DPLG ( (FR) registered architect. He began his academic venture at Politecnico di Milano (Italy), continued to EcoleNationaleSupérieured’Architecture de Paris La Villette for a Master of Architecture, and then to the United States at Georgia Institute of Technology receiving a Master of Science. His work has been recognized and awarded by the Emerging New York Architects Committee, AIA-NY and the French Institute for Architecture. Erik previously worked with Michael Arad on the World Trade Center Memorial for the victims of 9-11 in New York. He started his collaboration with Rem Koolhaas at OMA New-York and continued to Beijing to participate on prestigious international projects in Taipei, Tianjin and Shenzhen. He is a visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Dora Chi is an American, New York State registered Architect and LEED accredited professional; she received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. Her passion for sustainably built environments has her advocating the realization of ecological design. She was awarded with research grants from Cornell University and the American Institute of Architects to conduct research on massive urbanization in China. Previous experiences with I.M. Pei Architect, Handel Architects, and Foster and Partners include prestigious international projects ranging from large scale high-end residential buildings, international cultural and mixed-use buildings in the United States, Middle East, and Asia.

Image Courtesy © spatial practice, Harbin Towers multiply gates

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