Selected out of 27 competition entries, MVRDV recently unveiled their winning design for a 101,300-square-foot mixed-use development in Shenzhen. The project, which will be called the Shimao ShenKong International Centre, will be at the heart of Universiade New Town in the city's Longgang District.
Dubbed as the Shenzhen Terraces by the Dutch practice, the development will comprise over 20 programs, like a library, outdoor theater, and small gallery, MVRDV said, with many of the buildings designed as stacked, pebble-like plateaus.
Envisioned as a sustainable, oasis-like hub, the development brings together a pedestrian-friendly landscape, a mixture of functions, and public transportation. Abundant greenery and water will help cool the area and provide habitats for urban wildlife, while gardens and rainwater collection will generate food and water resources. The buildings will be made of recycled concrete as the aggregate, while extensive portions of the rooftops will be clad in photovoltaic panels.
Large overhangs from the terraces shield visitors from the hot sun, while also offering spaces for relaxing and enjoying the view. The shaded terraces make space for plants and water basins that cool the verandas and function as a climate buffer to the interiors. The edges of the terraces dip at strategic points to create connections between floors and also double as small outdoor auditoriums. Some facades are pushed inward to highlight entrances to help visitors orient themselves.
The largest building of the development is carved out in its center to form an open-air atrium, and also features a conference center, bus terminal, and entrepreneurship center.
MVRDV also incorporated bridging elements between various buildings, like the second floor being designed as a continuous route that links to surrounding developments in the city.
Developed in collaboration with Openfabric, the landscaping of the project echoes the pebble-like forms of the terraces. Patches of greenery and public programming are placed between pedestrian routes, along with grassy hills, palm tree-filled plazas, reflective pools, public art, and activity zones like climbing and table tennis. Where there aren't PV panels, the rooftops also feature green lawns that are accessible to visitors.
Shenzhen Terraces “could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen,” said MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas in a statement. “It aims to make an area that you want be outside, hang out and meet, even when it is hot – a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside.”
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