Henning Larsen Among Winning Teams to Design Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City in China

Henning Larsen Among Winning Teams to Design Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City in China

Danish firm Henning Larsen was one of three finalist teams to design the Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City in China. Selected from 15 participants, the team will collaborate on the 5.5 million m2 district that will become the new center of Shenzhen with the first prize winners, Shenzhen Cube Architecture + Swooding Architects Limited. Made as part of the largest bay economy in the world, the project aims to create the leading innovation center of China.

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Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen

To establish Shenzhen as the Heart of The Greater Bay Area, Henning Larsen envisioned a masterplan that shifts paradigms of Chinese urban planning and sets the standard for a green, sustainable and livable city of the future. Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City is part of an area that boasts a population of 70 Million people and includes other cities like Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau. Often called China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen is home to a cohort of innovative tech giants such as Tencent, Huawei and ZTE. The location of the project offers a unique opportunity to repair a historic missed link between city and sea.

Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen

“Our design aims to make Shenzhen the waterfront city it should always have been,” says Claude Godefroy, Partner and Design Director of Henning Larsen’s Hong Kong office. “To create an attractive waterfront we brought commercial and cultural facilities meters away from the seashore, so citizens will finally be able to enjoy the atmosphere of Shenzhen Bay in an activated urban environment, like in Sydney, Singapore or Copenhagen.” Henning Larsen’s design aims to create a pedestrian urban realm;cars are relegated to an extensive underground network of highways, roads and parking. “Most of the commuters’ cars will never surface in the district. This will change everything for the quality of the pedestrian experience and will be quite unique in China,” Godefroy adds.

Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen

In lieu of the massive shopping malls traditionally sitting beneath the tall buildings, Henning Larsen proposes a porous urban fabric composed of smaller buildings sitting in between the towers. At eye level, this urban typology offers a human scale with narrow alleys and small piazzas. The design also aims to address the urban heat island effect. “The success of this district depends largely on our capacity to reduce the heat in the public realm, especially when considering climate change,” Godefroy explains. “We know by experience that our initiatives can reduce the heat within the district by 5-8 degrees compared to the surrounding city. The added comfort level will encourage citizens to use the public realm.”

Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen

Henning Larsen took steps to update the design of the public realm and create a city plan that is relevant to the needs of future generations. These initiatives became additional “Cities” that were added to the masterplan: Nature City, Shared City, Smart City, Knowledge City, Art City and Leisure City.

An Art City: The initiatives of “Art City” aim to create a cohesive cultural experience throughout the masterplan. Each plot already needs to build 5-8% of their area as cultural program by law, but coordination is necessary to ensure complementarity of the different galleries and venues. In the public realm, art will be displayed in the streetscapes by themes (as in a museum) and large-scale art installations will attract attention from afar. The seafront will house larger cultural venues for performing arts and exhibitions. Furthermore, an ambitious plan to impose public and cultural venues at the pinnacle of the tallest towers will create “the Skyline of Art” and define the overall image of the entire district.

Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen

A Shared City: The sharing economy is increasingly changing workspaces and challenging the dogmas of what our cities should be. The Shenzhen Bay masterplan offers a range of shared working spaces in both dedicated buildings and integrated in the public realm. The dedicated co-work buildings are spread out in the masterplan and offer independent access, larger floorplates, internal atriums, and access to amenities such as coffee shops, gym, and shared meeting rooms.

A Forest City: An ambitious plan to plant 10.000 trees within the district would shade and cool the public realm, but also reduce air and noise pollution. Together with bioswales on ground level, the trees would provide a forest-like habitat for birds and insects.

Henning Larsen aims to collaborate closely with the other two winners and the government to refine the design and propose a coherent final masterplan vision.

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Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Henning Larsen Among Winning Teams to Design Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City in China" 08 May 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/916557/henning-larsen-wins-competition-to-design-shenzhen-bay-headquarters-city-in-china> ISSN 0719-8884

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