Design DirectorJan F. Clostermann
Lead ArchitectPhi Wenhui Lu
Text description provided by the architects. The Vantone Center is an 80,000 sqm mixed-used complex, merging retail, office space and SOHO apartments into one destination. This project is designed to accommodate the multifaceted demands of a contemporary lifestyle.
The project site is located in the Yuhang ‘Future Science and Technology City’. Five years ago, when we conducted our first site visit in Yuhang District, still lined with villages and farm lands, it was considered the fringes of Hangzhou. The grand-scale development which would remodel Yuhang into a new economic centre awaited commencement, and all its sites were poised for transformation. Therefore, our challenge was to envisage a design solution that could respond to inevitable changes. In the near future, how could our project take a clear position along a rapidly shaping skyline?
The project and its neighbours, including Alibaba’s Xixi Campus, are part of the expanding Central Business District development in this area. As such, it is anticipated that neighbouring sites will grow into high-density communities populated with high-rise towers.
In such high density development, it is not uncommon for the constructed volumes to leave the ‘in-between’ as undefined spaces. This sharp contrast of looming towers and low open spaces exacerbates a sensation of uneasiness. Thus our design purpose was to eliminate under-used spaces, and to curate an integrated sense of place. With the entirety of the project being functional and communal, it alleviates people’s consciousness of detachment and offers an additional focal point than the monumental towers.
The project consists of one office tower that delivers quality workspace on 21 floors, and two 100-meter-equal-height SOHO towers that house flexible duplex units. The towers are joined at the base by a three-floor terraced podium that loops around a central plaza. The two SOHO towers are orientated to have East-West faces, while the office tower is intentionally rotated against this dominant direction. Set back from the intersection of two adjacent roads, the main façade of the office tower is positioned toward the busy crossing, opening up a triangular public plaza at its front that extends naturally into the green belt and streetscape of its surrounding.
Although moderately separated, the planning of the three towers manages to achieve the density required and offer pragmatic tenant layouts without sacrificing either daylight or scenic views towards the Xixi National Wetland Park to the Southeast. The terraced podium employs F&B and retail spaces, public patios and balconies. Its multi-level connections facilitate and encourage circulation at neighbourhood level for enjoyable commercial and civic activities.
The curtain wall façade of the three towers features a pixelated pattern outlined by white granite stone cladding. In addition to the gridded outlines, a number of rectangular pixels on the office tower pop out as floating bay windows. These staggered boxes add another lively dimension to the building complex, contrasting with the vertical glazed skin on the SOHO towers to maintain a balanced visual appearance.
At present, the Yuhang ‘Future Science and Technology City’ is unveiling its undulated silhouette. Our project’s character is distinguishable against the vast development. The finished towers – two parallel and one rotated – “stretch upwards” facing their focal point, while the podium anchors itself to the ground. Winding pedestrian passageways that circulate inwards are more intimate to the passers-by, and terraced patios and balconies encircle into generous gathering spaces. Being in a somewhat monotonous and repetitive neighbourhood, the Vantone mixed-use complex hopes to generate some inviting spatial transitions and visual variations.