EID Architecture has been selected as the winner to design the OCT Xi’an International Culture Centre (XICC) in Xi’an, China after being awarded the first prize in an invited international design competition. Located alongside a major thoroughfare within the center of Xi’an and walking distance of the historical ancient city walls, this project comprises a 318 meter tall tower, consisting of office areas and a boutique hotel, a 180 meter tall service apartment tower, and a twelve floor podium containing extensive retail and entertainment areas. These program components are carefully and strategically organized in both vertical and horizontal dimensions, creating a vibrant urban center which is permeable and porous at the base. A key feature of the design is the integration of an adjacent park with the ascending terraces of outdoor retail experience, ensuring the pedestrian activities well connected at street levels to the surrounding streetscape. The dissolving of tall buildings into the smaller volumes of pedestrian friendly massing also stimulates synergy between the tower, the park and the surrounding streets.
“The design for XICC is intended as an exploration of vertical urbanism and offers a new solution for high density urban mixed-use in Asia. With its vibrant and unique mix of program combining retail, office, residential, museum, theater, hotel and entertainment venues, XICC creates an urban oasis both sensitive and culturally significant to the city of Xi’an.” says Ping Jiang, AIA, design principal of EID Architecture.
Conceived as an iconic and culturally representative landmark, the design offers a platform for a new dimension in urban living and the future of high density mixed-use projects through the integration of the desired program both spatially and experientially. Culturally, contextually and programmatically responsive, the design draws inspiration from both the historical gridded pattern of the imperial city with its overlapping pure rectangular geometries and the ancient city walls in terms of their spatial relationship with the city, in particular their connection to nature and the opportunity to occupy these high vantage points as public space. These inspirations fuse together to create a design that is intended as a balanced cohesive massing and expressed as a series of pure three dimensional geometric volumes and spaces that overlap and dissolve and fragment at the lower portion.
The outcome is a design that is both contextual and iconic, contextually integrated whilst unique in appearance. A design that allows for a visual and spatial porosity and connectivity at multiple levels creates a place of understated monumentality within a contextually harmonious architecture. It dissolves the overall mass of the lower portion into the surrounding context to create a more humanistic approachable scale, intimate at lower levels whilst creating an engaging and impressive calm and composed monumentality for the project as a whole. A design that is responsive to the city's cultural and historical fabric offers a new landmark for Xi’an.
An important and unique feature within the design is the inclusion and integration of an external themed cultural retail street that connected to the park at ground level, rises through the development, culminating at a piazza event space at level 6. This rising terrace street offers a multi-level connectivity and porosity to the retail shopping mall within and an engaging opportunity and interface for external areas and variety along its route and takes inspiration from the ancient historical walls of the city which allow for the access and enjoyment of public space along the top of these walls and is reminiscent of this particular aspect of Xi’an character and lifestyle. Art work and entertainment features are located along the route to create an event specific environment along with landscape and garden terraces integrated with the ascending terraces connecting the natural landscape of the route with the natural environment of the park to further enhance an overall design integrity and complexity.
Overall in the design landscape is integrated as an integral part of the vertical community intent with green terraces initiated at the retail podium areas and reaching into the higher parts of the project with the inclusion of sky terraces and roof garden areas. These landscape areas offer a green visual spatial connectivity across the project providing cohesiveness to the overall intent of creating a green micro urbanism as part of the projects core parameters.
Grounded in the city's history and leading the way to its future, the project offers a spatial quality, a formal composed beauty, programmatic opportunity and a natural porosity and permeability from holistic perspective within a high density development. Combining a modernity and contextual humility attributable to Xi’an, XICC is poised to become a signature landmark for the city, and a prime destination to live, work and visit.