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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects

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    Henning Larsen Architects


Shaping life’s design: Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City

Jessica Evans
24 May 2019

Three winners have been selected to collaborate in designing the new centre of Shenzhen - a polycentric megacity of 20 million people. Henning Larsen is the only foreign team amongst the winners.

Set to be located in the largest bay economy in the world, Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City will be the ‘lightning rod’ for development in Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area. The area has around 70 million people, including other metropolises such as Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau - with Shezhen being home to a cadre of innovative tech giants like Tencent, Huawei and ZTE.

To cement Shenzhen’s position as the heart of the Greater Bay Area with China’s leading innovation center, Henning Larsen’s vision includes an ambitious masterplan that changes the standards of Chinese urban planning to a more green and sustainable city of future China.

Existing business districts were developed away from the seafront, therefore, the location of the Headquarters offers the opportunity to “repair a historic missed link between city and sea”.

“Our design aims to make Shenzhen the waterfront city it should always have been.” - Claude Godefroy, Partner and Design Director of Henning Larsen’s Hong Kong office.

The attractive waterfront will bring both commercial and cultural facilities close to the shore, which will allow people to enjoy Shenzhen Bay’s atmosphere within an activated urban environment, similar to Sydney or Copenhagen.

Poor conditions for pedestrians in many Chinese cities, particularly in Shenzhen, are a result from Chinese planning authorities who previously prioritized vehicular traffic across the decades.

Henning Larsen intend to create an urban pedestrian realm where cars will never surface in the district, as they are relegated to an extensive underground network of highways, roads and parking. This will not only improve the quality of experience for pedestrians, but will also be quite unique in China.

Within the district, all basement levels are interconnected in a network of retail arcades and sunken plazas. Instead of the traditional large shopping malls that sit beneath tall buildings, Larsen plan for a ‘porous urban fabric’ that is made up of smaller buildings that sit between the towers, in order to rebalance the commercial activities that dominate the city with more culturally oriented ones within the urban realm.

The breeze from the sea also allows for effective urban ventilation and will allow the people to benefit from the cool wind during the summer’s punishing heatwaves. Additionally, by including 10,000 trees, roof gardens and whitewashed streets, will help reduce the heat - which the success of the district depends upon, especially when considering climate change.

The design of the public realm was updated to include the aspirations of the millennial generation as they are reaching the age of independence. Henning Larsen’s research into these aspirations showed that the young urban dwellers are looking to take ownership of their homes and neighbourhoods. Larsen and the two other winners have incorporated their research in order to create a city that is relevant to the needs of future generations, through developing “Cities” within the masterplan.

The “Cities” include:

  • Art City

  • Nature City

  • Smart City

  • Shared City

  • Knowledge City

  • Leisure City

Collaborating closely with two other competition winners and the government, Henning Larsen will help refine the design to propose the final masterplan.

Founded in Copenhagen, Henning Larsen is a highly specialised team of architects, designers, engineers, thinkers and doers. With offices worldwide, they hope to shape the life of tomorrow.


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