MVRDV won a competition for the area’s architectural design and masterplanning in 2013 against two other teams. The urban masterplan sits adjacent to the hi-speed train station and fourth busiest airport in mainland China, Shanghai Honqiao, and will create a more intimate form of urban life with pedestrian streets and plazas in an area dominated by large boulevards and high-speed expressways. The first energy-efficient office building in the masterplan is now complete, with a further nine office buildings to follow in early 2016, providing a total of 110,000 m2 of offices.
‘The Flower building is the landmark in our overall plan’ explains MVRDV co-founder and principal architect Jacob van Rijs, ‘the building is located near the entrance to a new metro station and acts as a beacon for pedestrians. The second phase of the masterplan is under construction, there we combine flexible, more generic office spaces with a village-like urban plan that offers intimacy and friendly outdoor spaces.’
The building merges the tops of four towers to create a shaded and intimate plaza in between. The building’s ground floor, with the largest windows, will feature retail space, while its top floor features connections between the four towers so that the building can be used flexibly by a one or more different tenants. The building’s rounded forms minimise the amount of façade necessary, and also optimise views and floorplates.
The cantilevered, self-shading form of the flower building is complimented by a façade with smaller openings on the upper floors to reduce energy consumption, leading to the buildings 3-star energy rating. The white façade, made up of extremely light but highly-insulated GRC panels, offers a subtle, shifting grid with expands as it reaches the ground to become more public and open to passers-by, and contracts as it reaches up to reduce the need for air conditioning.
The Hongqiao Central Business District will achieve three stars, the highest ranking of the Chinese ‘Green Building Label’. Sustainable building features include high performance insulation, optimised building forms, shaded spaces, natural ventilation, rainwater collection, permeable road surfaces, links to public transport and a reduction in the urban heat island effect. All 10 buildings will also offer green roofs as a habitat for local species. MVRDV currently has three other projects under construction throughout China and Hong Kong, all scheduled for completion in late 2015 or early 2016.