Managing Principal: Paul Katz, FAIA
Project Manager: Peter Gross, AIA
Client: Hang Lung Properties Limited
“Now that the structural frame is complete, to wander inside a series of curved concrete ribs is something like it must be to see a whale skeleton from the inside. Herman Melville would be inspired.” Design Principal James von Klemperer
On September 26th Tianjin celebrates the Grand Opening of Riverside 66 as the 350 meter long megastructrure will now complete the final phase of the He Ping Lu pedestrian boulevard, becoming the centerpiece of the new commercial district while marking its presence monumentally from the revitalized Hai He River and creating a new public experience for the city. “The building itself is conceived as public space where the building intentionally engages the urban traffic and fosters user interaction.” Says Jeffrey Kenoff, Director and Senior Designer at KPF. “Clearly the project needed to operate for a retail and multi program environment, but it also wanted to be a social network to embrace, represent and activate a local community.”
Both the client and the city of Tianjin desired a building that would become a landmark and re-define the connection between the river and He Ping Lu. The super shell is one of the longest single structures in the region, and, will be built with 22 seven-story high concrete ribs and over 10,000 panels of glass.
In the words of KPF Design Principal James von Klemperer, “Now that the structural frame is complete, to wander inside a series of curved concrete ribs is something like it must be to see a whale skeleton from the inside. Herman Melville would be inspired.” The concrete and glass structure curves dramatically upward from the riverside and converges with the opposing south façade, yielding a six-story building to meet the smaller scaled context of the Heping District. Audrey Choi, who was the project team leader said, the building materials themselves “promote transparency and legibility, allowing the interior program to engage the surrounding streets.”
Riverside 66 reimagines the typical retail model at almost every level as it encloses over 1.4 million sf into an urban market for the city. This circulation is intentionally porous with frequent active entries along the streets that allow the building to “operate as a modern version of a traditional bustling merchant setting” Says vonKlemperer. As the Shell remains a constant a series of renowned brands can populate and repopulate the two and three story stone “boxes” that stack along the pedestrian street. At the center the grand atrium in particular operates as both a public plaza and a vertical concourse to the building’s upper sky street as it divides the internal shell and directly links the Hai He River with He Ping Lu. The sky street in turn flips the retail equation by placing the most popular floor at the very top of the building encouraging the user to fully engage the multi-level structure. Kenoff adds “It definitely has the advantage of hyper flexibility and a unique ability to transform itself with current market needs and aspirations.” Rather than acting as a terminus, the building becomes an integrated “constituent of the urban traffic.” With one of the grandest public spaces in Tianjin, Kenoff concludes, “the project aims to activate the regenerated riverfront as it rethinks the role of China’s urban market.”
The project has already achieved LEED pre-certification and has been honored with several awards, including the "MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2007 – Retail & Leisure Commended Certificate" issued by MIPIM and The Architectural Review and the "2010 AIA New York Chapter's Design Awards" in the unbuilt work category, issued by the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter.