HENN ARCHITEKTEN‘s design and research studio, HENN Studio B, has been awarded first prize in the international competition to design the new central Business District in Wenzhou, China. They have kindly chosen to share with us their winning proposal, providing additional images and a succinct description after the break.
Wenzhou lies within a mountainous region of Zhejiang Province where the Ou Jiang River meets the East China Sea. The traditional trading town opened to foreign trade in 1876 and as an international port is one of today’s key production locations for the consumer goods industry in China. The centerpiece of the future Central Business District comprises offices, a five-star hotel, commercial space and a public park.
The Wenzhou coastline is interspersed with an intricate network of small and large rivers. The proposed design picks up on the river delta image and transposes it onto an organic park landscape which opens towards the sea. The green corridor leading out of the city continues across the site, where it branches out and forms an undulating connection between the city and the riverfront. On ground level, this architectural landscape merges with the flowing form of the buildings and simultaneously traces the movement of their users.
The five towers stand in a staggered row to ensure a largely unrestricted view of the river. Their height reflects that of the surrounding buildings in the south west and rises in a wave towards the river, where it defines the edge of the city on the bank of the Ou Jiang. The rolling landscape provides open spaces in various forms – from private inner courtyards and broad pedestrian walkways to urban parks. These layers of space offer access from all sides and encourage interaction between people and places.
The competition marks a beginning for the future development of Wenzhou. In this way, the Central Business District is a model for the process of transformation taking place in Chinese cities and their race for a distinct identity in the changing economic climate. Like many other economically aspiring cities in China, Wenzhou faces the challenge of establishing an urban identity that unites local traditions with viable concepts for the future.