Miralles Tagliabue EMBT studio, led by Benedetta Tagliabue, has won an international competition to transform Century Square into a new green landmark in Shanghai, China. The first prize proposal, won against David Chipperfield Architects, offers to renovate the plaza located in one of the busiest commercial areas in the world, “re-naturalizing” the city center and introducing green spaces to improve the urban microclimate.
Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, who has an important presence in the Asian continent with ongoing projects in Shanghai such as the Business School of the Fudan University Campus and the recently completed Zhang Daqian museum in Neijiang, China, won the international competition to renew the Century Square in East Nanjing Road. Basing their strategy on ecological awareness, the studio has turned Century Square into a renewed and welcoming meeting place. Putting together different environmental aspects, the intervention aims to become the highlight of East Nanjing Road and a new venue to experience the natural beauty of Shanghai.
Inspired by the sea and the nearby port, “the design opens like a shell to reveal its pearl: a glittering kaleidoscopic building that reflects the new urban landscape on its facades while hosting events and shows”. In fact, Century Square has always been related to happenings because of its strategic location, between “Peoples Square” and “The Bund”.
Generating a new urban eco-living, the new proposed square takes on green hills, interwoven with existing trees, and supporting a wooden tribune that houses cafes and shops. Moreover, green terraces and steps will allow people to sit at different levels, surrounded by trees and leaves, overviewing the vitality of the square and generating a space for a wide spectrum of events such as product presentations, exhibitions, markets, culture and theatre events, adapting each time the scenario.
Our project gives homage to the origin of the word Shanghai, which means ‘upon the sea’. We convert this very keyspace into a new urban living room, inspired in colors and shape by the sea and the harbor. The new paving represents an undersea world. This pavement becomes illuminated at night by glittering lights. […] We decide to “re-nature” this city Centre, introducing green spaces to improve the urban microclimate in consideration of the ecological consciousness. Lights and audiovisuals enhance this new green open space at night. -- Miralles Tagliabue EMBT studio.
Merging the newly introduced ecological aspects with the heritage of the existing buildings and functional requirements, the project with its new kaleidoscope building reflects its surroundings, like a water surface, fragmenting and recomposing the lights and images. Inside the kaleidoscope, small rooms invite the public to discover the square, the sky, the spirit of the city in between plants and mirrors.
Renewal of Century Square in East Nanjing Road
- Shanghai, China 2020
- Location: Shanghai, China
- Date: 2020
- Status: Competitions
- Client: New World Group
- Architect: Benedetta Tagliabue
- Project director: Stefan Geenen
- Design team: Sebastiano Losi, Giuseppe d’Ascoli, Daniel Hernán García, Gabriele Rotelli, Marzia Faranda, Juan Camillo Izquierdo, Lucas Arango, Malena Bilik, Youssef Shabo, Cristian Munteanu, Lidia Quarintini, Cristiana Messina, Gloria Papetti, Andrea Stevanato, Erica Hansen, Pietro Borzacca, Georgia Soultana, Darragh Casey.
- Area: 8.000 m2 plot area, 1.200 m2 building
- Typology: Urban design, Public spaces
- Program: Open stage, cultural events, exhibitions, markets, and product presentations.
- Local Design Institute: Tongji University
- Energetic Consultant: Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH
- Renders: Fancy