A clear yet flexible path is punctuated by surprises in the form of crossed-views to other levels, the main patio with its sunken garden, as well as exposition platforms scattered and hidden along the main walkways. Standing out among the formal solutions utilised is what became known as the ‘hula-hoop’ or ‘transmission gearbox’ of the main circulation lining the perimeter of the vast central space. Self-supporting structural rings are offset from floor to floor, allowing for generous cantilevers and dramatic platforms that hint at the concept of kinetics – a homage to the movement in, about and around the architectural object.
A docklands reference of a white, sculptural pile of boxes on both the main and interior façades generates interest from the exterior and creates a constantly changing shadow-play from the cantilevered volumes, contrasted during the night by a carefully studied lighting design that transforms the necessarily opaque exterior into a glowing object.Dynamic, vector-formed stratified bands swoop around from the rear of the building, finishing as the lit ends of a coil of fibre-optic cable.
This project has been entirely conceived and optimised in close collaboration with ARUP within a framework of sustainable design, as the developer has sought a BREEAM rating of 'Very Good' from the outset. The semi-open interior patio’s advanced roof structure naturally resolves convection-related passive cooling and heating and the large area of interior spaces act as a low-inertia energetic mass. The sculptural play of blind forms towards the south combined with the various greenhouse spaces and trombe walls of the west façade create a showcase example for environmentally sensitive design in a retail project of this scale.