Benoy architectural and design firm has unveiled its design for the Suzhou Center in Suzhou, China. Scheduled for completion in 2017, this unique structure will feature the world's largest monocoque roof, giving it the appearance of a giant bird with its wings outstretched. Perched near the bank of Jinji Lake, Suzhou Center will be a retail and entertainment hub spanning 36,000m square, and will also boast residential spaces and a luxury hotel. Once completed, it will be the largest shopping mall in eastern China.
The inspiration for Suzhou Center’s roof was that of the mythical phoenix: “We envisaged the structure as a bird resting above an oasis with the striking curved architecture mimicking its wings,” explained Benoy Director Winnie Tsang. As the phoenix is said to appear in places that are blessed with happiness and prosperity, it’s an apt symbol for what will be one of the most expansive luxury complexes in the country. Three interconnected buildings will contain high-end clothing boutiques, designer studios, and a gourmet supermarket, as well as children’s attractions, an IMAX Cineplex theatre, and even an Olympic-sized skating rink.
Water also features prominently in Suzhou’s design, paying homage to the nearby lake and integrating the complex with its natural surroundings. Landscaped bridges will intertwine from the retail area to the lakefront, with fountains and a cascading water curtain leading to outdoor terraces and public spaces.
In addition to the giant retail complex, there will be four office towers, two world-class luxury apartment towers, and a top-rated hotel tower integrated into the Suzhou compound. It’s estimated that this striking example of modern architectural innovation will see over 8 million tourists annually, and will serve the needs of 13 million Greater Suzhou residents.