Most grocery stores are giant, windowless boxes, devoid of light and air and only meant for the utilitarian purpose of selling food. NL Architects was tasked by a housing company to come up with a super market appropriate for the tropical resort town of Sanya, the southernmost city in China. Rather than leave the market at ground level, the Dutch firm pushed the grocery store underground and replaced the ground level with retail and topped it off with a lush, terraced park. The result is Super Market Sanya Lake Park, a market that is truly super.
Sanya is a popular tourist destination and known for it’s tropical climate, and Housing Corporation VANKE is developing a large resort there. As part of the development, they asked NL Architects to design a super market for the area on a triangular site. Often super markets are large impenetrable buildings designed for function and not form. The site was also to have some component of public space, where people could gather and be outside. NL Architects’ solution was to push the market underground and retain the street level space for retail and top it with a green roof.
The lower level contains the functional space for the super market as well as parking and even the delivery zone and space for trucks is all contained below the street level. This leaves the upper levels for more vibrant activities and spaces. Retail spaces are located at the street with large glass store fonts and the corners are pushed up to mark the entrances. The roof is terraced and planted with lush vegetation, which surrounds benches, paths and tables and chairs for people to sit on and enjoy. Inspired by rice paddies, the roof creates a pleasant atmosphere, a place to relax and a more pleasant view from the surrounding residential buildings.
Images ©NL Architects