Shanghai’s Himalayas Center design unveiled
The concept for Shanghai’s new cultural and business complex, Himalayas Center, was unveiled at the recent China International Travel Mart 2008. The RMB 2.4 billion project is situated in rapidly developing zone Pudong; its 2010 opening is timed to coincide with the World Expo Shanghai 2010.
The project, which the developer Zendai Group touts as an ‘Archisculptural Masterpiece for 21st century China’, was helmed by Arata Isozaki. The Japanese architect is known for his work on the Barcelona Olympics Stadium and Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art. For the Himalayas Center, Isozaki created soft curves of an “organic forest” contained within the hard, symmetrical lines of “crystalline cubes”. In the “forest” section, large expanses of irregularly-shaped holes are carved out of the walls, the walls are unevenly structured, thereby creating a sense of freedom in movement around the area. Contemplative and passive activities are housed here where the facilities include Zendai Museum of Art and DaGuan Theatre. On the other hand, the cubes contain facilities that will either encourage high loading or much interactivity, such as Zendai Hotel Yin, and Himalayas Creative Complex/Museum Zone.
The hotel tower which contains two hotels — Zendai Hotel Yin and Zendai Art Hotel — is a noteworthy aspect of the complex. Both hotels were designed by London-based interior designer Khuan Chew, whose credits include Dubai’s landmark hotel Burj Al Arab and Sofitel London Heathrow. Zendai Hotel Yin was conceptualised as a boutique-style ‘city retreat’ while the five-star Zendai Art Hotel will feature over 300 rooms.
Zendai Hotel Yin, which will occupy the top four floors of the hotel tower, according to traditional Chinese fengshui and Luban. The hotel’s highlight will be a traditional Chinese teahouse done with a modern twist. Not only will it feature daily performances, it will also provide books on Chinese history and culture. Zendai Art Hotel will be a business hotel and occupy the first 14 floors of the tower.