Architectural Insight: Parc Central, Guangzhou.
I have visited some cities in China in the past but not Guangzhou. Guangzhou is a city that I would love to explore in near future not only because I can speak Cantonese to the locals over there that would make things much easier but also that the city has observed a huge transformation in its urban development in recent years that would be of interest to someone in architectural field like me. The success of hosting 2010 Asian Games further propelled the city into strong economic growth and opening up many opportunities for architects to design incredible buildings in Guangzhou.
Recently, I came across a new architectural project recently completed in the city that is highlighted in an article from Archdaily website. The project is called Parc Central with Benoy as the architectural office commissioned as masterplanner, architect and interior designer behind this impressive work. This work combines architecture, urban planning and landscape design to create a visually stunning and interesting new public space for the city. Here below, I shared the Archdaily’s article regarding this project accompanied by some images:
Set in the heart of the Guangzhou’s new Central Business District, Parc Central has introduced a new typology to the burgeoning Pearl River Delta city; a ‘Stadium for retail’ which uniquely blends the low-rise above and below-ground retail development within a multi-level parkland. Positioned along one of the city’s major thoroughfares, this development is a compelling addition to the cityscape of Guangzhou, and combines retail, transit-oriented and public realm design strategies.
Developed on the site of a former square, the vision for Parc Central was to contribute socially and spatially to the city, as well as economically. Located along the city’s ‘Green Axis’, the vision for Parc Central was to form the focal point of this initiative and create a new ‘Central Park’ along the major Tianhe Road thoroughfare which dissects the city.
The result is a distinctive 110,000m2 retail development which is designed around an open parkland environment. Forming the heart of the development, the landscape, with its varying levels and forms of greenery, has created a place to socialise, rest and relax; a ‘Place to breathe’ within the city centre. Much of the development has been placed underground to achieve this and preserve the ground level environment.
The gardens, planted walkways and living walls create an undulating green space which integrates not only with the development itself but the surrounding streetscape. Ultimately, the design offers a soothing and re-balanced environment to the Tianhe district.
Parc Central is a low-rise building, standing 24m in height with two levels above ground and three levels underground. Being lower than the surrounding buildings, the design called for an eye-catching and powerful visual statement; one which would add to the rhythm of the city’s central axis.
Drawing on the symbol for peace, harmony and fortune in the Chinese culture, the architecture references the ‘Double fish’ in the form of a steel monocoque roof structure. The two buildings curve around the central gardens and are joined by a pedestrian bridge at one end. The monocoque roof canopies are supported by tree-like columns beneath which sit a series of gardens which extend the landscape element up the building.
Sustainably designed, Parc Central’s environmental performance is also enhanced through the addition of a rainwater collection system and low-E glass façades and an EFTE roof.
Benoy’s Interior Design Team has also introduced the geometry of the architecture, with fluid ceiling cove forms and uninterrupted joinery along the void edges. Large atriums punctuate the retail journey and draw light into the arcades.
A neutral colour palette of white and reconstituted stone creates a natural background for the mall, showcasing its tenants and their merchandise to maximum effect.
Transit Oriented Development
As a true Transit Oriented Development (TOD), the 110,000m2 scheme also establishes a new public transport interchange for Guangzhou. Seamlessly connected above and below ground, Parc Central will be accessible via China’s metro system and bus network and is linked by overhead footbridges to the district’s neighbouring developments. The design enables the development to function as a multi-dimensional gathering space with convenient accessibility above, below and at ground level.
Parc Central adds to Benoy’s growing portfolio in the exciting Pearl River Delta Region and is Benoy’s first completed TOD scheme in Guangzhou. Benoy has previously worked with leading Hong Kong property developer Sun Hung Kai on a number of schemes which include the Shanghai International Commerce Centre (ICC), Shanghai International Finance Centre (IFC) and APM in Hong Kong.
It’s a massive complex with bold design and complicated details. Above all, I think this project will be working well on the site in response to its surrounding in this giant urban area. It sits perfectly nice in the middle of that linear axis in Guangzhou’s CBD. Interesting structure with creative ‘stadium for retail’ concept and all the vast landscaping in, around, and through it.
(Information and images in this post are from the following source: http://www.archdaily.com/791640/parc-central-benoy)