Tonkin Liu has unveiled its competition winning proposal for a new Trade Centre in Zhengzhou, in east-central China. The Cradle Towers of Zhengzhou comprises five mixed residential, office and hotel towers that swoop out of podium housing retail and leisure.
Hollowed out to form a ring, the podium forms a threshold between the city and a soft, sheltered landscape within. The London-based architecture practice won the invited design competition in 2016, selected over entries from Rocco Design Architects in Hong Kong and other practices based in China. Zhengzhou is the cradle of the nation’s civilisation. It sits at the hear of one of the earliest settlement areas of ancient China.
Emblematic of the the peaks of the nearby Songshan mountainscape and the Round Sky and Square Earth proverb, the Cradle Towers celebrates the city’s origins as it looks to build its future. The city is square and the sky is round. A family of five towers of varying heights swoop out of the urban block to from a mountainscape. Vertical courtyards bring daylight into the deep plan at the base of the towers and establish vertical gardens up their inside faces.
At the micro-scale the glass façades are fritted with a responsive skin that serves to accommodate the varying requirements of programme, solar shading, and privacy. At a macro-scale it marks a gradation upwards from dark to light, establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky.
A fluid landscape spills out of the cradle and under the lifted podium ring, connecting the vast inner courtyard to the wider city sprawling beyond. At the peak of each tower a roof-top glass house simultaneously screens the mechanical plant floors and greens the skyline. Source by Tonkin Liu.