Shanghai Cofco Cultural & Health Center by Steven Holl Architects


Designed in 2016, the Shanhai Cofco Cultural and Health Center aims at being a social condenser, fostering community among the residents of the surrounding new housing blocks with a public space and park along an existing canal.

While the adjacent housing blocks are repetitive, here the architecture is of spatial energy and openness, inviting the whole community in for recreational and cultural programs. Shaping a central public space, the Health Center and Cultural Center are exoskeletal concrete construction.

Subtractive cuts in the concrete structure carry on the space shaping architectural language. The landscape and two new public buildings are merged by the concept of “clocks and clouds.” The landscape is organized in large, clocklike circles forming a central public space, and the buildings are cloudlike in their porosity and openness.

The Cultural Center hovers over a transparent glass base that exposes a café and game and recreation rooms. A curved ramp, climbing gently up to the second floor, creates a continuous experience of overlooking.

The Health Center is also shaped by the curves of the landscape. Both buildings have green sedum roofs, which merges them further with the landscape when seen from the surrounding apartment buildings. Source by Steven Holl Architects.

  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Architect: Steven Holl Architects
  • Partner-in-Charge: Roberto Bannura
  • Project Architects: Xi Chen, Sihuan Jin
  • Project Team: Noah Yaffe, Wenying Sun, Ruoyu Wei, Dimitra Tsachrelia, Okki Berendschot, Pu Yun, Elise Riley, Lydia Liu, Tsung-Yen Hsieh, Michael Haddy, Yi Ren, Xu Zhang, Hong Ching Lee, Peilu Chen, Yuanchu Yi, Lidong Sun, Zhu Zhu
  • Associate architects: East China Architectural Design & Research Institute
  • Structural engineer: East China Architectural Design & Research Institute
  • Façade design: Windafacade
  • Cultural center area: 6030m
  • Health center area: 1490m
  • Site area: 7520m
  • Year: 2020
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

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