The international MOLEWA (Mount Lu Estate of World Architecture) competition, organized by the Chinese real estate group Huan Yan with the support of the UIA, sought proposals for urban development plans for small and medium cities in China and several of the winning projects will be carried out in the city of Ruichang next year.
Mexican office TEAM730 Taller de Estudios Y Análisis Metropolitanos, led by José Muñoz Villers and Carlos Marín, was awarded the silver medal in the competition’s Commercial/Cultural category, Plot 7: Shopping Street, for their design of a multi-functional pedestrian street along the entire complex.
More images and the project description after the break.
Description from the architects
Architecture should enable us to design experiences and possibilities for things to happen; architecture should suggest rather than impose. The design philosophy is based on key components to respond successfully to the project´s highest performance:
WEST SIDE BOULEVARD OR THE CONTEMPORARY PEDESTRIAN STREET
By introducing the WEST SIDE BOULEVARD – a 126-meter long street which contracts and expands to create small, intimate plazas and pocket parks, the project successfully addresses not only to the client’s demands on creating a shopping street, but also to the tremendous opportunity to re-invent the contemporary pedestrian street. The WEST SIDE BOULEVARD links both ends of the parcel, operating as an urban component to connect with different plots and programs (Museum District and Shopping COMPLEX), by doing so this inner pedestrian street propels the flow of people, program and activity needed to activate the entire site.
The pedestrian street serves as a meeting place, both spontaneous and planned, due to series of intimate plazas, pocket gardens and parks that appear along the way, it also provides multiple standpoints to observe the high-end retail stores, gallery spaces, and enjoy the flowers, handmade goods or Italian gelato kiosks.
The architecture that is strategically placed along the boulevard generates a vertical impression with a deep perspective, inviting the visitor to come, experience and stay. The WEST SIDE BOULEVARD helps to create “a sense of place”; it offers a comfortable place to sit and gather while creating a unique image for the neighborhood. It promotes sustainability through minimizing heat islands and responding to climatic demands; and is capable of being maintained without excessive costs.
The WEST SIDE BOULEVARD also performs as the epicenter for culture, fashion, art and entertainment. Proposed as a multi-event pedestrian street, it is easily transformed from a busy commercial street with coffee shops, gelato and flower kiosks, into a vibrant fashion show to introduce new season clothing for the high-end retail stores, or a summer concert from a local orchestra. In order to offer the best climate conditions for this year-round events, the shopping street is protected by a series of thin columns supporting hanging roofs to cast shadows and protect from rain, without blocking views from and to the site and the surroundings.
ARCHITECTURE THAT ENABLES OPPORTUNITES
A collection of vitrines ranging from one floor to three stories; enclosed or entirely open; formal and informal; transparent or opaque; with art terraces or verandas; from 25 to 1000 square meters, the project attempts to suggest rather than impose architectures with a wide range of flexibility in future and potential tenants.
The buildings are able to work as an stand-alone high-end retail store for a world-class couture brand, or to be rented to a AAA office space on one floor and a gallery space on the other; the scale of the buildings responds successfully in reassuring that natural light and ventilation (if needed) is achieved, that main and service entrances are placed where needed, but above all, that each vitrine has full 4-façade exposure. The scheme presents 8,717m2 of built area, but is fully flexible and able to increase by 20% in leasable area without losing its distinctive character, lightness and porosity.
A distinctive roofscape is introduced as a key component to engage an active dialogue with the Chinese culture, the subtropical climate, and as a signature of the architectural program and activities of the site. The project presents a series of light suspended structures supported by thin columns to increase a comfort zone for outdoors activities to take place. The distinctive geometry and lightness is referred to a contemporary re-interpretation of the Chinese traditional architecture of pagodas, such structures respond successfully to the subtropical conditions of the site while providing an open but protective roof. The roofscape is also intended to function as the ultimate unifying architectural element not only for the inhabitable architecture, but also for the informal network of pedestrian streets.
PROPOSED PROGRAM AND ACTIVITIES
The program proposed for the project is based on the client request for high-end retail and luxury. High-end goods as well as luxury services are placed strategically across the site to activate a perfect mix between shopping, business and pleasure. Access to these tailored services is achieved not only from the West End Boulevard, but through a series of perpendicular streets that links the architecture to the surroundings.
Finally, this new form of development that integrates luxury shopping + art + hedonism + spa + sweet delicacies + flower and silk crafts, represents a democratization of luxury: “exclusively for everybody”. It is creating a new life style.
The proposal reinforces the idea that streets should not only serve as transportation routes, but be also front yards and public squares for the city, the city streets should be vibrant again. Since streets in general represent 25% of the city´s land area, the design and conditions of these public spaces has an important impact on the city´s environmental health and quality of life of the residents. The proposal design streets as public spaces that beyond moving people and goods, they comprise and extensive network of public open spaces to facilitate social, cultural, civic and economic interaction.
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE TYPOLOGY
The scheme features two main components with distinctive purposes: on the one hand, a series of 22 boxes to respond to the maximum variety and diversity of potential tenants, the box-like structures present proportions that become them suitable not only for the suggested use (commercial), but also for future and unpredictable new programs (housing, hospitality). On the other hand, a suspended roofscape is deployed strategically across the site creating not only a controlled micro-climate, but also a unique image for the neighborhood, the roofscape generates a vertical impression with deep perspective, inviting the visitor to come, experience and stay.
In the same fashion that goods and services are delivered in typical shopping streets in Europe, the proposed scheme takes advantage of the inner pedestrian street (West End Boulevard) to be used, in days and hours previously chosen, as a service street where small vans or trucks have specific parking spots nearby stores, kiosks and offices. The project also features vehicle entrance and exit on the north facade and has assigned a specific area for service parking and freight elevators at the parking floor.
Competition: International Competiton for MOLEWA, Plot 7: Shopping Street
Client: Hua Yan Cultural Investment Company, Ltd.
Project Manager: Creativersal International, Ltd.
Competition Organizer: UIA.
Location: Huayan Township / City of Ruichang, China.
Architecture: TEAM730 TALLER DE ESTUDIOS Y ANÁLISIS METROPOLITANOS
Design Directors: José Muñoz Villers + Carlos Marín
Design Team: Djurdja Milutinovic, Claudio Nieto Rojas
Plot Size: 10,000m2.
Program: 8,717m2 of mix-use and 10,000m2 of parking space
Models: Fernando Kido Kerse
Visualization: CG Verón, lab07.
Photographs: Marcos Betanzos.