The hill-like Hangzhou Duolan Commercial Complex is part landscape, part urban design and part architecture. It provides a playful combination of housing units, public open spaces, community gardens and recreational spaces for occupants of a new district of Xia Sha in China. Brearley Architects + Urbanists designed their competition entry by vertically layering two programs-a shopping mall and residential units and topping the whole thing off with a vast green roof.
Topped with a sloping green roof, the complex attempts to provide every floor with an immediate access to the roof and address the isolation of living and working practices. The architects sliced diagonally through the rectilinear perimeter block and created rooftop gardens with entrances to each floor and terraces to provide spaces for informal meetings and exchange. By creating and localizing a gradient of semi-public spaces, they established potential for the creation of a range of communities of different scale.
The development is a multi-level labyrinthine space that entices the public to explore both the active lower levels and the quiet top gardens. Those who make it to the top of the complex are rewarded with stunning views of the adjacent Qian Tang River.
Images by Shu He