A 37-storey mixed-use complex in Chengdu, China, recently reached substantial completion and opened its first phase, the 111,500 sq m Chicony Plaza department store. Occupying a full city block adjacent to a vibrant public square in the central business district of Chengdu, the complex is anchored by the 12-storey department store, with a 25-storey Grand Hyatt hotel above.
The complex is designed to maximise program-specific relationships within the existing urban context. By asymmetrically stacking the hotel tower above the retail podium, the design helps integrate the building’s mass with its surroundings. The orientation of the podium entry to the north creates an ideal relationship with the active urban plaza.
The hotel tower, sited to the south, provides all rooms with unobstructed views and abundant natural light. The two primary masses of podium and tower are unified by a series of stepped gardens that are accessible from the hotel’s sky lobby, ballrooms and dining facilities.
The primary material palette of opaque white glass and high-performance vision glazing establishes a dramatic contrast within the urban context. The façade design is organised by a series of architectural ‘planes and reveals’ that provide scale to the project, while the shifting windows and joint patterns create a sense of visual movement across the taut exterior surfaces.
Contemporary ‘retail awnings’ are formed by cantilevered glass volumes that activate the base of the building. These cantilevered volumes provide a continuous rhythm of canopies for pedestrians while organising the podium’s extensive signage and advertising needs. The department store is one of the largest in central China, and the hotel will feature 450 rooms at full build-out. A scheduled soft opening for the hotel is planned for late 2012.