Adhering to the concepts of creativity without relinquishing culture, innovation without compromising quality and fashion without sacrificing convenience of living, Benoy leads the design of the Shanghai One East Plaza project, striving to create a brand new urban space. Located in Block 99, Wuliqiao Street, Huangpu District, Shanghai, the plot is surrounded by East Longhua Road, Mengzi Road, Luban Road and Inner Ring Road.
On the north side of the World Expo Museum, it is an area which cannot be missed for anyone travelling from Lupu Bridge to Puxi in Shanghai. In collaboration with UA Design, Benoy is honoured to be tasked with designing this brand new Shanghai landmark for the owners, Greenland Hong Kong (former) and Brookfield China (current). Covering an area of approximately 166,770 m2, the project is comprised of 4 Grade A office buildings, mixed-use commercial annexes, commercial blocks and diverse indoor and outdoor spaces.
With the aim of introducing a different business pattern to the densely built commercial complexes in Shanghai, the Shanghai One East Plaza project reflects the contemporary urban characters of Shanghai, which are inclusive, pioneering and diversified, demonstrating the unique Shanghai culture. Inspired by the philosophy of “securing fortunes in an enclosed area and an inclusiveness of vast sea”, the design team focuses on “collecting the nimbus of nature and enclosing them at the heart of the city”.
Among the three architectural design options were: buildings encircling the heart of the city, buildings divided into north and south zones and making standalone buildings eye-catching respectively, the first option was selected as the best option. While maintaining a consistent architectural style, changes of façades are demonstrated from different angles and urban skylines are enriched through different tower heights along one side of the main road. Towers are built to minimise wall effects and allow more sunlight to pass through for the neighbouring residential buildings.
Floor plan analysis
The overall traffic flow plan allows the east side of the plot to connect with the south side through the clustered commercial annexes, while the outdoor commercial blocks and the west side of the plot is accessible through the central square, allowing each part of the plot to be interconnected. The core of the masterplan are its commercial elements, which also serve as the aorta connecting various facilities, transportation, and traffic flows.
The clustered retail shops on the east and north sides are located along the corners, achieving a seamless connection between the space above and underground, together with the subway entrances and exits. The entrance is designed to combine traditional store entrance with non-traditional flagship stores so as to enhance attractions to pedestrians while providing more flexibility in accommodating a variety of business formats. A series of high-end flagship stores are located on the south side of the plot, echoing the World Expo Museum on the other side of the sunken square.
The commercial blocks create a leisure and entertaining environment and will become the centre of in-person activities for local residents and business promotions in the future. In addition, the commercial space distributed below and above ground connects with the sunken square, and the underground commercial space is creatively designed to connect the food court with the sunken square, making the space more interesting while elevating the mall to a higher standard. The design allows easy access from the entrances of the commercial blocks to the nearby roads for pedestrians.
Residents in the north side pass through the square in the west side, while customers in the northern drop-off area walk directly into the commercial annexes. After passing through the sunken square in the south side, pedestrians are drawn towards the central square, which leads to the clustered commercial blocks, appreciating different views along their paths. The commercial blocks have a seamless connection with the towers while serving as a hub for people headed in various directions, providing a pleasant and diverse journey for pedestrians in all weathers.
Based on the design concept of “Braided Huangpu River” for the façades, the design team ingeniously interweave the commercial annexes with the office towers to enhance the overall image. The four towers with differing heights are located near the border of the plot, providing a beautiful view of the river integrated with the skyline. Two of the towers are higher than the other buildings, overlooking traffic flows in all directions. The other two towers stand alone and are connected underground, making them stand out among the buildings.
The four towers and the annexes are interwoven to create diverse enclosed areas, with places for the public to carry out community activities amidst beautiful landscapes, below ground, at ground level, and on the rooftop. The ingenious design of the rooftop gardens follows the principles of sustainable and low-carbon design. There is evident mastery of using square and circle shapes throughout the design. The use of squares on the exterior allows the urban view to be complete, upright and more iconic; the use of circles in the interior alludes to the convergence to the centre to increase the cohesion of buildings.
Due to the height restrictions, a corner-cutting technique is used at the top to heighten and maximize the visual effect of the towers while keeping the complex closely connected. The use of simple materials such as perforated aluminium sheets and ultra-clear glass makes the complex look modern, while the use of faux-wood aluminium sheets and faux-wood flooring draws one closer to nature. Curtain walls with decorative strips and different depths are used on the towers, lending visual height and creating a remarkable character and a unique sense of visual motion.
While combining organic design concepts and project positioning, Benoy thoughtfully considered the modern Shanghai culture from a unique perspective. In every inch of the project, the Huangpu River is fully integrated with its surrounding environment through design details. This project is designed not only to erect international buildings along the Bund, but also create an open, interactive and mobile public space reflective of local characteristics.