Raffles City Hangzhou – The future of living, working and leisure

This impressive new mixed-used development in China is a look into the future of living
Story by: Trends
Raffles City Hangzhou – UNStudio architecture, building, daylighting, structure, teal
Raffles City Hangzhou – UNStudio

Architect: UNStudioAbout the project: Designed by Ben van Berkel / UNStudio, CapitaLand’s new Raffles City is a sustainable urban hub for living, working and leisure located in Hangzhou, one of China’s most picturesque cities. It forms the eighth Raffles City development in China.

Situated in Qianjiang New Town near Qiantang River, this mixed-use development becomes a major landmark along the green axis of the city’s new CBD. A rich mix of 24/7 functions occupies almost 400,000m² within two streamlined towers set atop a podium and landscaped plaza.

Conceived as a lively vertical neighbourhood and transit hub and featuring stunning views of the river and West Lake areas, the sixty-storey, 250 metre-tall high-rises contain residential units, Grade A offices, the Conrad Hotel and a rooftop helipad; the 116,000m² six-storey podium accommodates retail, restaurants, leisure facilities and parking and has a direct underground connection to the metro.

“Raffles City Hangzhou will be a point of confluence, a hub for business conduct and a new destination for visitors and residents alike; an ‘all-in-one’ destination for working, living and leisure in a highly sustainable environment,” said Ben van Berkel.

Capital of Zhejiang province, the city is steeped in tradition with a view to the future. Located 50 minutes by high-speed train from Shanghai, Hangzhou has become an economic powerhouse within China today thanks to a strong tech sector.

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Raffles City Hangzhou – UNStudio

While the city’s heritage focuses on the picturesque UNESCO heritage-listed West Lake, its future points to a new economic, political and cultural centre orientated towards the river. With strong future ambitions especially concerning sustainability, economy and livability, Hangzhou is a city on the move.In light of the impacts of urbanisation worldwide, UNStudio posed the question: How can we utilise a dense, mixed programme as part of a transit-oriented development to stimulate sustainable living and improve quality of life?Articulation

The design of the tower and podium facades interplay contrasting textures. Clad in a shimmering scale-like skin of aluminium tiles, the podium facades reflect the building’s activity and landscape to offer pixelated perspectives. The towers feature an outer layer of rotated, vertical solar shading fins, placed atop the curtain wall system. Accentuating the tower’s characteristic twist, they also frame internal views.

Catching the light throughout the day, the lines of panels add a luminous texture to the facade. By night the curvilinear silhouette lights up: this reinforces the building’s prominence and minimises the building’s light pollution as only the outline is illuminated.

Interior

Situated at the centre of the retail spine, a spectacular atrium forms the organisational and visual focus of the podium interior. The atrium is designed as a spiral of overlapping layers, creating seamless connectivity and extensive sight lines between the spaces.

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Raffles City Hangzhou – UNStudio

As a feature detail the bamboo handrail echoes the building’s curvilinear form. Winding its way around the podium as a continuous ribbon, it adds an element of tactility and natural contrast with the futuristic interior.

From here two diagonal voids ascend seven storeys through the opposite wings of the retail spine. As an intuitive finding device, the voids guide visitors along each wing that spans almost 150 metres in each direction. Abundant daylight streams through the atrium and voids right down to the lowest floors, introducing a unique outdoor quality to the podium interior.

Looking up through the skylights, the towers are always visible from the main atrium, changing appearance depending on the viewing point.

As the scale of the fluid forms transition from the architecture to the streamlined interior and winding handrails, this results in a cohesive spatial experience – as if outside merges with inside.

Sep 21, 2017

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