Gregotti Associati selected for extension to Pudong financial district
Milan based Gregotti Associati, together with local partner Thape, have been selected to extend the eastern part of the financial district of Lujiazui (better known as Pudong). The vast project, awarded through a restricted international consultation process by the Shanghai Government involves an area of around 850,000m² at the centre of the famous downtown area of Shanghai, where innumerable skyscrapers, including the Jin Mao, already rise up, in an urban scene that is transforming fast, with plots still to be built on and a fabric where the new towers loom up in isolation. Beginning with this complex architectural context that is in the process of formation, the project concentrates on the integration of the new eastern financial zone of Lujiazui in the vast financial district of Shanghai, bringing out the possibilities of a compact urban configuration that is capable of incorporating the future towers into a coordinated design for the city.
The qualities of the project that have enabled it to win the international competition, first of all establish a network of public spaces extending along the sides of the monumental axis of Century Boulevard, regulating the elevation of a new city core with an orthogonal grid, a new centre for service sector activities with attached services and residences, consisting of towers integrated into a clear urban morphology. Pedestrian only streets, plazas, tree-lined avenues and avenues of water distribute the alignments along the regulating grid, its rhythm marked by blocks designed as bases that are raised 20 metres with a green covering. Containing services, commerce and various facilities, the bases guarantee the ground level a high level of use by the collective urban life and avoid the residual spaces with no identity that are normally produced by the isolation of skyscrapers. The towers rising from the bases can therefore take on forms rich in architectural variations, yet respecting an urban structure that is well defined by the blocks and by their alignments of the road layouts.
This philosophy of a “city of skyscrapers” measured at ground level by human steps and proportions suitable for social life is entrusted to three large malls, or parallel avenues, over 70 metres wide, with the city mall (a sequence of plazas with facilities) at the centre and at the sides a water mall and a green mall, intersected on the front facing the river by a tree-lined avenue. The general plan also sets itself the objective of merging four general levels and making them coexist in the scheme: the level of the pedestrian city at ground level; the lowest level (at -7.50) where the service roads, technical spaces and parking areas, plus a commercial promenade by the new canal, are located; the level of the blocks (at +20), where a further green mantle stretches out; finally, the various heights of the towers that will rise up from the blocks.
The project for the new zone with a prevalently service function requires the support of a strong infrastructure: two underground motorways and five underground railway lines will avoid mobility jams, guaranteeing the use of the area to over 150 thousand people at the same time. On the basis of quantitative parameters that envisage flows of these dimensions for a surface zoned for building of over 2 million m2, the city core of Lujiazui is prefigured as a genuine new urban pole. For this the project envisages around half the surface being for service sector use in a strict sense, and the other half being divided up between hospitality services, commerce and entertainment, with hotels, residences and the insertion of structures to host exhibitions and performances. This functional structuring, combined with the centrality conferred upon the large public spaces, will favour the use of the area throughout the entire day, attracting diverse social sectors of the Chinese metropolis.