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OMA´s new landmark for Shenzhen: Crystal Island competition

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Shenzhen Crystal Island @ OMA / Ole Scheeren

Shenzhen is one of the most active cities in China, and was recently appointed “City of Design” by the UNESCO (2008).  A recent competition for Crystal Island, located in the center of the city, envisions the Shenzhen Creative Center, an iconic project in front of the city hall.

The project, won by OMA in collaboration with chinese firm Urbanus, includes  a major new cultural center, transport hub, and public landmark. The Shenzhen Creative Center takes advantage of such a central location, and disaggregate the program over a 20-hectare landscape of parks and gardens, on which clusters of pavilions and small buildings form “Design Villages” creating a micro urban system which includes buildings for Design Administration, Tourism Center, buildings for design retail and expo and a design campus. It also includes a big open space, the Ceremonial Plaza.

All these buildings and open spaces are connected by an elevated pedestrian system, the “Ring Connector”, which also connects to existing and future train and subway stations.

At the center of this circular project, a spherical void becomes a landmark for the city: the Shenzhen Eye.

The disaggregation of the program on such an active area has the potential to mix the creative industry with the rest of the city’s activities, potentiating  multiplicity, permeability, and openness towards creative activity.

The project collaboration between OMA and Urbanus includes the young Ole Scheeren and Rem Koolhaas, and Urbanus partner Meng Yan, with a team lead by OMA Associates Dongmei Yao and Anu Leinonen.

After the break, a schematic model of the program relations and another rendering.

Shenzhen Crystal Island @ OMA / Ole Scheeren

Shenzhen Crystal Island @ OMA / Ole Scheeren

Cite:David Basulto. "OMA´s new landmark for Shenzhen: Crystal Island competition" 17 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>