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.
SHIZIMEN CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT in Zhuhai, China by 10 Design
November 26th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: 10 Design
China Celebrated the Opening of Its World Class Central Business District in Shizimen, Zhuhai
Gordon and Miriam led the design team for the complex from the competition winning entry and worked closely with the client to the completion of the first phase. Recently the team at 10 DESIGN have been commissioned to advise on the future design phases of the development.
The overall development comprises 640,000 sqm of accommodation. The first phaseincorporates 362,000 sqm of convention, theatre, music hall, exhibition, and banquet facilities. These public and civic functions are supported with retail, F&B, serviced apartments, a 548 key Sheraton Hotelopening on 28thDecember 2014, and a 320m high tower which accommodates grade A office spaces together with a 250 key St Regis Hotelthat is scheduled to open on 30thJune 2016.
As the chief designer of the development, Gordon was invited as the key note speaker at the formal opening ceremony. The core message described “how convention and exhibition facilities if properly considered can play a vital role in the economic development of a region.” He explained that convention and exhibition centres facilitate communication and act as catalysts for trade and commerce regionally and globally. A summary of the keynote speech below:
Commercial sustainability is critical. There are several interactive ingredients leading to primary commercial successes: Location, Flexibility, and Diversity.
In order to cater for a wide audience, it is critical that the convention and exhibition facility can hold a multitude of diverse events with the ability to segregate or inter-mix delegates. This requires a high degree of flexibility in planning. So while the external public amenity functions of retail, F&B and office are sculpted in form, the internal planning requires to be rational and flexible.
The facility holds a multitude of functions including a theatre, a music auditorium, large scale convention and exhibition halls accommodating up to 2,000 people and large scale banquet rooms hosting up to 4,000 people.
An associated mixed use development
A commercially successful development also demands a complimentary mix of uses to make it work as a standalone destination, with continual occupation beyond the requirements of the limited convention and exhibition centre operations. Therefore other functions such as office, hospitality, serviced apartments, and retail have been designed in the first phase, creating a waterfront urban destination.
Combining public and civic functions
The civic importance of the facility should not preclude it from being enjoyed by the general public. It was a driving factor in the original design competition concept that the facility should act as a truly public amenity as well as a civic one. This principle has been adhered to throughout the whole design process with the creation of an activated plaza linking the District Road to a waterfront plaza. This plaza is activated continually by retail, F&B, and garden spaces.
An urban ribbon
The idea of combining public and civic functions brought about the idea of an urban ribbon, linking and defining functions and spaces in the Shizimen CBD.
The ribbon houses purely public functions such as F&B and retail and also physically connects the main road (Nanwan Road) to the waterfront. The ribbon acts as a screen and separator between public and semi-public functions while at the same time framing vistas both internally and externally such as the view towards Macau.
It also wraps around special civic functions such as the theatre and convention, and lifts and opens to create a number of different special entry points to varying zones. For instance the ribbon, wrapping on NanwanRoad, forms a formal entrance by day and a vibrant arch by night while framing the entry to the music hall and theatre on the elevated plaza with its views to Macau.
The ribbon also helps to define a series of more intimate garden spaces which are key circulation areas between zones while providing sunken daylight wells to the carpark drop off areas. The combination of hardscape and planting reflect sculptural forms of the Zhuhai coastline.
A COMPELLING PLATFORM
The Shizimen CBD does provide a wide range of facilities that are rare to find in even the largest of convention facilities. It combines high quality, flexible exhibition, and convention space with several specialist spaces including a theatre and music auditoriums. With its distinctive coastal setting and a wide range of hospitality and commercial functions provided on site, the Shizimen CBD offers a compelling platform for businesses and communication.
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