The KPF Designed China Central Place Opens in Beijing
China Central Place, also known as the Hua Mao Center, opened officially on September 25th 2007 with a ceremony attended by the Princess of Thailand, Ubolratana Rajakanya; the chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc., J.W. Marriott Jr.; the Mayor of Beijing, Mr. Wang Qishan and 500 distinguished guests. The seven million ft² mixed use complex is located in Beijing's central business district. Designed by the international architecture firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the masterplan includes residential, retail, hotel, and office uses. The quality of the buildings and the level of the tenants who will occupy the complex, will together exemplify the high end of the Beijing market. The office towers, one of which will be the headquarters for Deutsche Bank in China, have accounted for the largest block of office space absorbed in this city in 2007. Major retail flagship tenants include Armani and Bulgari. The two hotels will be operated by Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott.
The complex was developed and built by the real estate branch of Guohua, a state owned power company which in turn is owned by Sen Hua, one of China's largest energy conglomerates. The site is located on Chang’an Boulevard, Beijing's primary east-west axis, which is the address for the city's primary governmental and business entities, and fronts onto great public spaces including Tiananmen Square.
The architecture of China Central Place was designed by KPF as a striking composition of diagonally faceted glass volumes whose appearance is softened at the lowest five stories by terra cotta screens. Within the site, the component buildings define two major public parks of over 2 hectares each. The phenomenon of using commercial functions to define such a public space is unique in the context of Beijing. China Central Place is one of a few projects, including the China World Trade Center and CCTV, that will establish this district as the commercial hub of the city.
KPF design partner James von Klemperer explains that "already this development has made a strong impression on the public. It gives people a sheltered environment where they can work, live, shop, and enjoy the synergies of urban life without the stresses of congestion."
The opening of this development in Beijing is one of the major additions to China's capital in preparation for the 2008 Olympics.