The completion ceremony of the Nanshan Technology Finance City in Shenzhen was held recently. The masterplan and the entire complex of buildings was designed by Foster + Partners, establishing a new destination for the city and a new benchmark for sustainable architecture in China. The design creates an integrated mixed-use community – unified by a series of ‘ribbons’ that define the routes, landscape and buildings – bringing together offices, a hotel and a dynamic public realm, animated by shops, restaurants and a range of new civic spaces.
Over the past 30 years, Shenzhen has been the site of dramatic urbanisation. From a small fishing village in the late seventies, it has grown into a world city. The Nanshan Technology Finance City is at the centre of the Shenzhen High-Tech Industrial Park (SHIP), Shenzhen Bay Park, one of the six key national science parks in China. Located along the eastern entrance to SHIP on Shen Nan Avenue, the masterplan is laid out as blocks dissected by ‘ribbons’ of streets and squares, which establish key pedestrian and public transport routes. The dense urban fabric is knitted closely with the surrounding city, following the topography of the site, with landscaped public spaces and green terraces that characterise and bind the masterplan together.
Grant Brooker, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners said: “The masterplan is about giving the city back to its people. Moving away from separated retail and commercial zones, it puts people at the heart the design. Pedestrian access and ease of movement through the site is of primary importance and public spaces are essential to create vibrant areas within the masterplan. The new streets and alleyways adopt the existing topography and create a district that is highly permeable and accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians while maintaining a human-scale throughout the development.”
The practice has also designed seven office towers within the masterplan that are a striking new addition to the city’s skyline. Moving away from the monolithic building type, the stepped structures soften the edges and their elegant proportions create a graceful marker for the surrounding area. Their profiles also create a variety of terrace spaces with uninterrupted panoramic views of Shenzhen, while animating the city skyline.
To accommodate greater flexibility, the structure was placed externally to allow column free floorplates. These columns were then used to self-shade the towers, creating larger windows and optimising views out to create a more pleasant working environment. The external structure is clad in shimmering white and silver profiled panels, outlining the towers and articulating the masterplan’s unique ‘ribbons’ expression.
“The Nanshan Technology Finance City seeks to create urban fabric for Shenzhen in the 21st century. As Shenzhen continues to develop rapidly in the coming decade, it will provide a vibrant hub and exciting workplaces for people and visitors from around the world,” added Brooker.
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