Fit for an Emperor?

Friday 31 Jul 2009

Tianjin's premier waterfront destination

Tianjin is approaching the final year of its Eleventh five year plan, but this hasn't stopped the Chinese municipality extending their plans. Woods Bagot's Hong Kong office have just released designs for a new one kilometre development situated on the newly reclaimed East Port, adjacent to Tianjin’s Port area. The project is set to be a 'first-class seaside conference and tourist destination' according to Woods Bagot and in a region whose name means 'A port for the emperor', the design has a lot to live up to.

Consisting of a 630 room Sheraton hotel, a yacht club and marina, seaside restaurants, retail mall, villas and a promenade, the brief sounds promising.

Patrick Cheung, Vice Chairman of developer Rainbow Land Holdings said: “We appointed Woods Bagot as we felt that they had a great understanding of the vision we had in mind for the new Tianjin. Our aim is to create a new, world class waterfront development not just for Tianjin but for all of China; and make it a must-visit business and leisure destination for the region.”

The hotel will form a dominating presence on the waterfront with its two wings connected by an 8 storey central atrium, designed to maximize the number of rooms with sea views. But it is the marina club that form the most striking element of the design. Inspired by the sea views, waves and nautical boating forms, the marina club has a dynamic shape that opens up to the sea on the East, shelters the building from the western sun and twists up to form a visible beacon.

“One key challenge was creating an architectural response that supports the client’s desire for an iconic destination development whilst being cost effective and buildable in the China market,” comments Woods Bagot Principal, Sandy Edge.

Contributing to the cohesion of this approach is the retail mall which forms the key element to connecting the hotel and marina club together while providing all weather access in the cold climate, and year round buying potential. In warmer months visitors have promenade retail opportunities in the restaurants along the seaside.

To complete the package the hotel’s seaside café picks up the curvilinear forms of the hotel and its soaring roof opens the space to the sea views. The interior design of the café was based on a theme of bubbles using curved shapes to reinforce the architectural aesthetic. The seaside café was designed and constructed first to provide a test case for the construction team and to allow a key launch party for the local government.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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