The meeting rooms and exhibitions spaces are raised off the ground, connected by a ring of circulation around a central courtyard. On the ground floor, retail, restaurants and amenities are arranged as a series of pavilions that populate an urban landscape with gardens and plazas where people can meet and interact. This arrangement was proposed to challenge, in a playful way, typical notions of Chinese object making and use of public space. The distinction between inside and outside is blurred and a multi-leveled landscape with different sized plazas, courtyards, terraces diversifies the social and circulation spaces.
The material expression of the building enhances these differences further: the two lower levels are clad in dark metal profile. Above, the continuous floor to ceiling glazing and silver profile metal suggest a hovering ‘cloud’.
It was essential that the combination of built form and open space not only fosters a feeling of community, but enhances the user experience. The creation of a hard landscape across the site, with pockets of soft, green spaces embedded in the surface sets up a flexible environment where visitors can gather for formal and informal events. The landscape uses natural materials – timber decking and natural stone – that will change in quality over time.
The building was designed and built within nine months and represents a highly successful collaboration between our client and the local LDI.