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Connecting Old and New, the Shanghai Way

History provides lessons for modern cities. The Shanghai Landmark Center designed by Aedas is a perfect example.

Connecting Old and New, the Shanghai Way

The pace of urbanisation appears unrelenting. Every so often, in the world’s major cities, you’ll see sleek new glass towers rise up to change a city’s skyline – again. Which is why the new Shanghai Landmark Center, in one of the major metropolises of the world, stands as a thoughtful alternative.

The building is situated in the north bank of Suzhou creek and within the business area across Sichuan North Road and Zhapu Road. In this prime location, the development also enjoys excellent views towards the Northern Bund and Huangpu River.

The site is surrounded by low-rise residential blocks and a number of historic buildings, including the Shanghai Post and Telecommunication Bureau, Shanghai General Hospital, New Asia Hotel, Ruikang Mansion and Outer Baidu Bridge.

Designed by Aedas, the façade of the Shanghai Landmark Center draws its inspiration from traditional Chinese windows found on the nearby historical buildings. Interpreted in the contemporary language, the result is a striking motif that sets the tone and identity of the development.

Beyond how it looks however, this façade design also allows less reflectance compared to typical glass towers, and relieves neighbouring buildings from light pollution and disturbance. The signature oriental motif extends to the retail blocks, not only serving as an ornamental screen on the façade, but also adding interesting, animated light patterns on the inner layer.

In response to the vibrant neighbourhood and low-rise domestic buildings on the east and north, this commercial development retreats from south to north; two towers sit in the south of the site, while retail components in the north embrace an open central plaza for food and beverage and various outdoor activities. In addition, the skylight above the central atrium brings in natural daylight and the green roof offers a welcoming public space.

Beyond that, the buildings are placed along the site edges to reserve open spaces at the four corners, acting as transitional nodes to the surrounding high-density context. The massing and orientation of the complex highlight the architectural layers whilst also facilitating daylight penetration and ventilation to the adjoining domestic blocks.

The Shanghai Landmark Centre is certainly not ‘loud’ by any measure, but the contemporary architecture combined with oriental and humble touches makes this building a signature landmark in Shanghai city.




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