Sanlitun South is a shopping and living center in Beijing that features a distinctive shipping container village on the north-east side of the development. Designed by LOT-EK, a New York firm known for its ground breaking work in cargotecture, the project was inspired by the traditional Chinese ‘Hutong’. LOT-EK's Sunlitun South is an urban alley enlivened by retail and open air circulation.
LOT-EK’s Sunlitan South is one part of a larger retail and living center in Beijing. Master planned by The Oval Partnership for Swire Properties, the project also features building designed by KKAA/Kengo Kuma & Associates, SHoP Architects and Sako Architects. LOT-EK’s design evolved from the concept of the Chinese Hutong, which is a small local neighborhood characterized by courtyard residences aligned to create alleys. Some of these historical residential neighborhoods are now protected from demolition and many form the heart of Old Beijing.
Using shipping containers painted bright orange and scaffolding, LOT-EK created a village setting with a dense fabric of narrow alleys, low-rise buildings, elevated walkways and bridges that connect the levels together. The result is very urban and industrial, but also quaint and accessible. Containers jut out into the alleys, create shaded zones below and encourage passersby to explore and wander around. Orange mesh wraps the exterior of the entire northeast section, which adds privacy and shade protection keeping the interior cool while allowing ventilation. The project was completed in the summer of 2008 and was awarded the International Architecture Award in 2009 and the World Architecture Community Award, December in 2008.
Images ©Shuhe Architectural Photography