UNStudio has completed a stunning new LEED Gold-certified project in China that we hope will be a model for mixed-use development for years to come. Described by the Dutch studio as “a sustainable urban hub for living, working, and leisure,” the enormous complex in Hangzhou is the latest Raffles City to be erected in China. Located in the city’s new central business district in Qianjiang New Town, this nearly 400,000-square-meter development is made iconic with its pair of 250-meter-tall interconnected towers—the largest single building completed by UNStudio.
UNStudio designed Raffles City Hangzhou using its ongoing research into Superliving, a set of strategies to create sustainable, healthy cities with streamlined services and amenities to provide a higher quality of life. “Raffles City Hangzhou will be a point of confluence, a hub for business conduct and a new destination for visitors and residents alike; an ‘all-in-one’ destination for working, living and leisure in a highly sustainable environment,” said Ben van Berkel, the founder and principal architect at UNStudio.
Located near and oriented for views of Hangzhou’s Qiantang River, the towers derive inspiration from the waterway with its organic form. A shimmering scale-like skin of aluminum tiles clad the building and are paired with an outer layer of rotated, vertical solar shading fins. Curvilinear shapes and undulating lines are echoed in the light-filled interior as well as the landscaped plaza and podium that connect the pair of sleek, sinuous towers.
Conceived as a “lively vertical neighborhood and transit hub,” the sixty-story high-rises comprise residential units, Grade A offices, the Conrad hotel, and a rooftop helipad. The 116,000-square-meter six-story podium includes retail, restaurants, leisure facilities, parking, and access to the metro. “The building is designed with a carefully considered mix of programmes – like those found in a good city – that bring together a wide range of users,” wrote the firm. “Besides working and living at Raffles City, people can stay at the hotel, or pick up groceries, enjoy a meal, do exercise, watch a movie or even get married there, all in one interconnected environment.”
Images © Hufton + Crow