As China continues to modernize by developing new cities and areas, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this modernization is the image the modernization attempts to project. Simply, this modernization process attempts to establish an image similar to cities in the west like new york city, but better. This attempt is not one exclusive to china and the chinese; rather most of the developing world attempts development through an image. This results in a culture of contrasts... and an architecture of contrasts.
This project is an attempt by the city of Hongqiao to create a new central business district that gives businesses a different option beyond the nearby congested Shanghai. The CBD is connected to a major train station and is located near the airport to allow for ease of transportation for business travelers. This project is one of many projects in the CBD, most of which have been completed while others are under construction. Vanke hongqiao center includes retail and office space.
The main areas of entry on the site are characterized by linearity, flanked with water and greenery, attempting to subdivide it into zones, with a zone for more expedited movement between one point & another in the center and another for strolling & shopping to the sides. The design responds to different types of human behavior around the site and accommodating each behavior with an appropriate design solution.
A central plaza or a central space is characterized by activity, openness and dynamism. That is reflected via intense lighting, the flow and sound of water, the movement of people and the adjacent program and activities. This central space is at the center of retail areas and the offices, making it both a destination for all and a view. It is at the center of exposure and activity.
In contrast to the central space is this vertical garden. Contrasting exposure and openness, it attempts to create a more intimate setting by lowering the volumetric height of the space. It offers seating for rest and respite, as opposed to being filled with activity in openness. It is nestled between the buildings, as opposed to being a destination. The vertical garden is a place of quiet and intimacy.