Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beijing Day 01 - Chaowai SOHO & Shangdu SOHO

CHAOWAI SOHO
IROJE architects & planners


Chaowai SOHO has been designed to present an alternative to the typical model of Western transplant observed in neighbouring regions; it could not exist anywhere else, only in Beijing. Accordingly, it is very important to remember and reinterpret the identity of Beijing within the rapid change, which is almost menacing the traditional way of life in Beijing.

A number of concepts are established for this purpose. The first concept is the idea of ‘city within the city’. Its scenery of urban fabric in the building will greet its visitors and residents, bring back in them memories and incite new lives. The building itself is a small city; Little Beijing.

The second concerns the concept of a new building type. Analogous to natural topography, some parts are lifted up while others are lowered to form man-made nature, and the exterior shell is filled to define the inner void.

Third, the overall shape of the building is circular, like the Tulou; a type of vernacular architecture found in southern China. The solidity of the outer shell gives its inner space an atmosphere of introversion and strong solidarity, but also opens up vigorously to the external city. Fourth is a new analysis on the interior functions. They are not so clearly divided, but carefully organised with strategy which actively incorporates various forms of living and will secure the dynamism of life happening inside this small city.

Finally, the exterior material is grey stone; dark grey is the traditional color of Beijing. The details of this grey stone will accumulate memories with depth and density through the passage of time.


Lab Architecture's award winning design of the SOHO Shangdu in Beijing

Lab Architecture's award winning design of the SOHO Shangdu in BeijingThe project’s retail spaces deliberately creates activated street frontages and the internal retail areas were designed on the principle of a vertical hutong with a series of internal streets and passages which vary in their width and circulation patterns and in doing so create localised and specialist zones. Two large internal courtyards vertically link all the floors and provide an auditoria for a range of events from fashion parades, commercial launches to concerts and festival activities. The facetted facades of the two towers are clad in a random pattern of glass and aluminum panels and inscribed with a large scale geometrical network of lines which at night create continuous light lines that form a distinctive nocturnal image for the project. The facade pattern allowed the proportion of glass orientating to the south and west to be reduced and thus lowering the buildings heat gain.

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