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Shanghai waterfront gets an upgrade with Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio’s new Bund Finance
China Architecture News - Oct 12, 2017 - 16:32 15722 views
Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio-designed mixed-use development the Bund Finance Centre is set to get an upgrade in Shanghai's waterfront - the team will design two 180-metre landmark towers, located in the south of the site. Occupying a prominent site on the Bund, the buildings are situated at the 'end point' of Shanghai's most famous street.
Developed by two acclaimed international studios, the 420,000-square metre master plan features a highly permeable layout for pedestrians, with the design conceived as a point of connection between the old town and the new financial district.
Areal drone view. Image © Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio
Inspired by this urban context, two landmark buildings - facing the waterfront - are staggered in height and relate in scale and rhythm to the grand nineteenth-century landmarks along the Bund.
The bronz-finned building - the Arts and Culture Centre, located at the heart of the scheme, was completed in June this year. The building serves as a new home to the Fosun Foundation, which combines exhibition and events halls with a performance venue, inspired by the open stages of traditional Chinese theatres.
View of Fosun Foundation, Bund Finance Centre. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
"The Bund Finance Centre creates a pivotal connection between the old town and the new financial district. Developing the massing strategy for the buildings was an interesting challenge, in terms of relating to the context of old and new architecture, reflecting the scale of the waterfront and the character of the historic quarters," said Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio and Senior Executive Partner, Foster + Partners.
"The opportunity to make something new in this prominent location that had formerly been the river gateway to Shanghai’s Old Town was extraordinary. With a project that would create 420,000 square metres of space, we felt a great duty to look for fresh ways to connect with China’s amazing built heritage and make a meaningful public place for thousands of people to work and come together," said Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio.
Cafe inside the Fosun Foundation, Bund Finance Centre. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The 420,000-square-metre development is comprised of eight buildings, combining premium offices with a boutique hotel, a cultural centre and a wide variety of luxury retail spaces, all arranged around a landscaped public plaza.
The retail spaces are vertically layered with boutiques, concept stores for international brands, a luxury shopping mall and restaurants. The team uses a palette of crafted stone and bronze details, giving a sense of jewel-like quality on the exterior. The edges of each volume are made of richly textured, hand-crafted granite and become slimmer as they rise, giving the impression of solidity at the base and transparency at the top.
Daytime view towards Fosun Foundation, Bund Finance Centre. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
"The social focus of the scheme is the cultural centre, conceived as a platform for international arts and cultural exchange, as well as a place for brand events, product launches and corporate functions. The building is encircled by a moving veil, which adapts to the changing use of the building and reveals the stage on the balcony and views towards Pudong," said the architects.
Terrace inside the Fosun Foundation, Bund Finance Centre. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio are closely working with local engineers from Tongji University to create "a tassel effect" on the façade. Designed as a veil organised along three tracks, they are made up of layers of 675 individual magnesium alloy 'tassels' – a reference to the traditional Chinese bridal headdress.
Fosun Foundation at street level, Bund Finance Centre. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The tassels range in length from around 2 metres to 16 metres so that as each track independently moves, the veil rotates with the tassels overlapping and producing different visual effects and levels of opacity.
Aerial Perspective Masterplan. Image © Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio
"The cultural centre is an optimum blend of craft and technology. It is inspired by traditional Chinese weaving, while incorporating the latest cutting-edge technology that helps withstand earthquakes, typhoons and severe weather. Its unique form provides a memorable and extraordinary experience for visitors, while the illuminated stage and the motion of the moving veil creates a unique backdrop to the theatre of city life," added Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio and Senior Executive Partner, Foster + Partners.
Top image: Daytime view towards the Fosun Foundation, Bund Finance Centre. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu