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Dissolving Tower Inspires Lightness

Amid a concrete jungle in Shanghai’s city center, Andrew Bromberg at Aedas designed a podium office tower that resembles a cloud on a hill. Sylvia Chan writes.

Dissolving Tower Inspires Lightness


November 16th, 2016

Currently under construction, Gemdale Changshou Road will consist of a 21-storey office tower and a retail podium upon its completion in 2019. Situated on Changshou Road in Shanghai’s city center, the site is surrounded by high-rise commercial buildings. However, at the south of the site, a low-rise residential area featuring a green space has been proposed.

The unique site conditions inspired the design of the tower, which aims to bridge the green residential area in the south and Changshou Road, the main street in Shanghai’s city center. The tower will feature a stepped podium mall with lush terraces that are open to the public, extending the green space towards the south.


Spearheading the design is Andrew Bromberg, the global board director at Aedas. He says, “The design of the podium responds to the planned future green area. People can enjoy the open and green views as well as the landscaped environment within the building.” Bromberg adds that by treating the podium terraces as an extension of the future green space, the neighbourhood will become more integrated.

The podium mall, which will feature retail and food and beverage programmes, will have multiple visible entrances and be highly accessible. Bromberg says, “We will create a pedestrian connection through the retail podium. The lush terraces and public plazas near the retail entrances will bring humanism, which is currently missing, to the urban fabric.” The podium terraces will also reduce solar heat gain and increase energy efficiency, Bromberg adds.


Extending from the retail podium towards the sky, the office tower will feature soft edges and a deliberately ambiguous form that suggests the image of a cloud sitting on a hill. “The form of the tower will dissolve into its surroundings and the sky,” says Bromberg. He adds that the lightness of the design, together with the podium’s open spaces, will bring a refreshing atmosphere to the neighbourhood otherwise surrounded by high-rise towers.


The location and the orientation of the tower will allow it to be visible from Changshou Road, directing visitors from the main road to the retail mall.

The tower’s top curtain wall façade, which faces Changshou Road, will be corrugated, drawing attention to the building and reinforcing the concept of ‘a cloud on a hill’. “This will also dissolve the expression of the tower by softening the reflections of the surroundings,” says Bromberg. The glass curtain wall of the tower employs high-performance, Low-E and low-iron glass to reduce energy use in the interior.

When completed, Gemdale Changshou Road will offer new public spaces to its neighbourhood. Bromberg says, “The project will enhance the interaction between the commercial spaces and the streets.”


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