MulvannyG2's designs for one of the largest urban developments in Sichuan province
MulvannyG2 Architecture of Bellevue, Washington, won an international design competition for the design of a mixed-use commercial development in the heart the central business district of Chengdu, China. The development will be one of the largest of its kind in Chengdu, an inland city located in the Sichuan province.
Suning Real Estate Development Co. of Nanjing orchestrated the competition. The 175,000 sq m development will include a 45-storey tower comprised of a 5-star hotel and corporate offices, set upon a 12-storey podium, which will include luxury hotel amenities as well as world-class and local, boutique-scaled retail.
The development is designed for excitement, drawing visitors and consumers as a destination. The design strategically routes pedestrian traffic while innovatively integrating Chengdu’s new and existing economic scales while the retail podium’s material, colour, form, outdoor roof decks, and LED lighting create visual intensity, day and night.
Along three perimeters of the site, Chengdu’s most prominent retail address will offer leased space to world-class retail and lifestyle-focused anchors. The podium’s design accommodates the spatial and floor plate requirements for these retailers’ brand stature. Floors two through eight of the podium will feature specialty stores, restaurants, a cinema, and an ice skating rink, all vertically connected via a central atrium that fills the space with natural light.
Another scale of design provides new accommodations for the site’s local retailers displaced by this new development. The designers’ opportunistic insight resulted in an intimate, pedestrian-scaled shopping experience crafted from the alley-scaled access road required for emergency vehicles. This retail experience is adjacent to similarly scaled historic buildings along the site’s northern edge, and also routes pedestrians to the retail podium.
The design provides retail access from every side of the site, with entries catered to each side’s scale, density and foot traffic. For instance, a primary entrance to the retail podium is positioned to tap foot traffic on the site’s southwest edge from an adjacent civic plaza, Zhongshan Square, referred to as the city’s ‘living room’.
Meanwhile, despite a site that is pedestrian-only on three sides, this winning design optimises access for both vehicles and pedestrians to the hotel. MulvannyG2 designed a sunken plaza to create an additional retail entrance that directs pedestrians to sub-grade retail and away from the hotel, allowing greater vehicular access to its porte cochere. That sunken plaza also offers an exciting entry to five floors of sub-grade retail, so it does not become an underutilised retail amenity.
The development’s exterior treatment tempers the development’s massing to respond to the context of its adjacencies, from historic buildings to civic plazas. For instance, dark grey terracotta panels at the lower level of the retail podium mediate the scale and material of adjacent historic buildings. Also, the planning strategy will showcase hidden jewels of Chengdu’s history, making those buildings more prominent with new axial views.