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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.

Nanjing Financial City II in China by gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

 
March 29th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner 

The architects practice gmp has won the competition for Nanjing Financial City II and has been commissioned to produce the master plan and the design for the first development stage. The design for the large-scale financial center is based on intricate detail and references to Nanjing’s historic city structure.

Stone plinth with high-rise buildings above, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

Stone plinth with high-rise buildings above, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

  • Architects: gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner
  • Project: Nanjing Financial City II
  • Location: Nanjing, China
  • Photography: cube-viz, Gärtner Christ
  • Client: Nanjing Financial City Construction Development Stock Limited Company
  • Design: Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Marc Ziemons
  • Project leader, competition: Jan Blasko
  • Design team, phase I of competition: Peter Brändle, Cai Lei, Nicole Flores, Dominika Gnatowicz, Matthias Heck, Tim Leimbrock, Pan Mei, Philipp Schneider, Yiping Tang, Murat Aras
  • Design team, phase II of competition: Tim Leimbrock, Thorben Oelke, Pan Mei, Yiping Tang
  • Landscape architecture: WES LandschaftsArchitektur
  • GFA: 786,000 m²

Urban ensemble seen from the south-west, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

Urban ensemble seen from the south-west, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

After its successful participation in the competition for the design of “Nanjing Financial City – Phase II” von Gerkan, Marg and Partners has been commissioned with the design of the first of two development stages of the new finance and business center. The site of “Nanjing Financial City – Phase II” lies to the south-west of Nanjing’s inner city next to the trade exhibition grounds, and is the key project for linking two urban axes in Nanjing’s expansion area Hexi New Town. The Hamburg architects were already successful with their design for the first phase of “Nanjing Financial City”, which is now under construction.

Development next to the Central Business District axis, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

Development next to the Central Business District axis, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

For phase II of Nanjing Financial City, gmp Architects propose an ensemble of five high-rise buildings with heights of between 157 m and 415 m. The idea is to create a business district with an unmistakable urban quality and its own identity. The master plan produced by the practice provides a 415 m high tower block directly at the crossing point of the “Youth Olympic Club” axis and the “Central Business District” axis, which will create a landmark with a strong recognition effect. The 65,000 m² site will be developed into an urban quarter with mixed uses, including offices in combination with an upmarket infrastructure for numerous conference and meeting facilities, as well as serviced apartments and shops.

View of „Youth Olympic Club“ axis, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

View of „Youth Olympic Club“ axis, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

The green axis, which runs from north to south and crosses the completed Central Business District and both development sites of Nanjing Financial City, divides the overall site of phase II of Nanjing Financial City into three parts. On the two outer development sites, the architects are planning high-rise buildings in line with the road layout and the specified building lines; the western of the two sites is currently being designed. The third area is part of the crossing green axis, creating a breathing canyon in the midst of the high-density high-rise building structure.

Skyline Nanjing Financial City II, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

Skyline Nanjing Financial City II, Image Courtesy © cube-viz

This green canyon – with its squares, sunken courtyards, and landscaped areas – will become an integrated part of the retail zone. This area has the benefit of spectacular vistas to the surrounding architecture, and the quarter is connected to its neighborhood via pedestrian bridges.

View of plaza with sunken garden, Image Courtesy © Gärtner Christ

View of plaza with sunken garden, Image Courtesy © Gärtner Christ

In order to provide a structure to the overall building volume with its 500,000 m² of net floor area above ground, the architects use joints to divide the building façades. Vertical recesses define the outer shape of the buildings, and horizontal inserts define the functional uses. Four-story structures form the plinths of the outer towers. In the interiors of the respective parts of the site, these plinth buildings are supplemented by three-story retail developments with a small-scale structure. Perforated façades of natural stone slabs in the lanes and squares generated between these buildings create a pedestrian-friendly and familiar atmosphere of a scale that is reminiscent of historic inner cities. This internal structure is rounded off with market squares in each development site. The plinth level is dedicated to pedestrians and open-air shopping, and creates a deliberate contrast to the classic indoor shopping mall. It is not only joints that separate the retail area from offices, hotel and serviced apartment areas in the tower blocks. The business world, which can be seen by pedestrians in the “inner city” by looking up, is characterized by transparent, vertically structured steel/glass façades that contrast with the plinths. The public areas for shopping, dining, and strolling almost seem to belong to a different era, while the business façades of the towers above reflect state-of-the-art modern high-rise architecture.

Shopping lane with natural stone façade, Image Courtesy © Gärtner Christ

Shopping lane with natural stone façade, Image Courtesy © Gärtner Christ

Even though the new high-rise quarter appears very modern, even futuristic, at first sight, the design was nevertheless inspired by a local and historic building monument – Nanjing’s city wall, dating from the 14th century which, with its length of 35 km and conspicuous city gates, is considered the longest city wall still standing in the world today. The stone plinth of the ensemble which, with its small-scale squares and lanes is reminiscent of the historic inner city, and which, like the city wall, can be accessed on foot at a higher level, seems to adopt the principle of “city wall” in a modern form and at a different level of scale. Planted roof areas as “fifth façades” and recesses in the towers provide numerous viewing points analogous to the structure of the ramparts. This modern “city in the city” is flanked by the five towers.

The architects’ search for the specific character of the place and the city of Nanjing is the base for creating familiar exterior spaces with urban qualities at a human scale in this newly developed area, which gives this city quarter its own identity.

Master plan, Image Courtesy © gmp

Master plan, Image Courtesy © gmp

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