Scaling up Chinese retail

Nick Myall
Friday 08 Jul 2016

Aedas drew inspiration for the design of Olympia 66 in Dalian, China, from the twin carp, a symbol of wealth and abundance in traditional Chinese culture

Designed by Aedas, Olympia 66 in Dalian, China is a statement of innovative design and has become an instant landmark in the city. The design of the structure respects Chinese culture and urban context, with a thoughtful approach to its relationship to the street providing generous community space and plazas with integrated landscape. This seven-storey shopping mall grasps the fine balance between complex form and function, responding to the immediate surroundings and local community and providing the largest shopping, lifestyle and leisure complex in Dalian.

Olympia 66 is located at Wusi Lu, a prominent avenue in the heart of the commercial and residential district in Dalian. The 63,400 sq m site is adjacent to the Olympia Square, a sequence of squares along the main avenue of Zhongshan Lu. To the east sits People’s Square, the home of the municipal government, whilst to the west is Xinghai Square. With great visibility from Zhongshan Lu and Wusi Lu, the project has good road transport connections and a link to the new underground railway.

Olympia 66 creates a contemporary statement with an oriental overtone, defining an iconic city destination. The design, when viewed from above, drew inspiration from the twin carp, a symbol of wealth and abundance in Chinese culture which are typically used in Chinese New Year paintings.

The interplay of two swimming carp inspired a dynamic form which allows a loop circulation flowing through a continuous chain of retail, atrium and event spaces to the sky-plaza and central roof garden, creating an exciting and diverse lifestyle experience.

Internal curving arcs resemble the dancing carp, with the expression of a series of simple shells with the tail flowing over the curving central spine. The shells on the roof are layered to create clear storey glazing, allowing direct and reflected light into the two atrium spaces. The main façade is composed of hexagonal modules with various lighting effects recapturing the reflective scales of a carp.

The building form enhances urban connectivity and integration through multiple entrances. The continuous shop frontage at street level not only provides great visibility of retail but also makes the building totally permeable at ground level. Main entrances are prominently defined and open into generous event spaces allowing a pause before joining the vortex of circulation.

The enormous floor area is divided into open event spaces and retail areas with a central spine which runs through the centre of the mall linking two large atria on each side and diagonally linking the corner entrances. Leisure activities and event spaces are sequenced along the retail route providing opportunities for visitors to rest at a cafe or take in an exhibition. Landscaped terraces wrap around the building further enhancing a relaxing shopping environment. Integrated digital signage is implemented to direct visitors the shortest routes to destinations within the building.

In response to the northern Chinese climate, the largely solid insulated roof creates overlapping blades and clear storey glazing to allow direct light into the atrium while shading summer sun, thus preventing heat loss in winter and solar gain in summer. The roof blades also serves as a big light shelf to maximise reflected light down into the atrium spaces. The project is pre-certified with a LEED Gold rating.


Nick Myall

News Editor

Key Facts:

Commercial Retail
Aedas Olympia 66 Dalian

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