Project description by KPF:
The Hai He River, which flows through Tianjin into the Pacific Ocean, has long made Beijing’s port city a critical center of trade and commerce in Northern China. Over time, Tianjin has become one of the most active international shipping ports and one of the country’s most important cities. The redevelopment plan for Tianjin aims to reinvigorate the river banks through new uses and an enhanced urban center. Surrounded by cultural institutions, this urban center will establish a new identity for the city that links its culture to its historic place of commerce. The project site defines the eastern portion of the new center in which the building itself is justified toward Tianjin’s main pedestrian street, He Ping Lu, freeing the Hai He river portion of the site for a public park. The building’s form engages the site’s disconnected edges and unites them within a single carapace, which generates the project’s presence on the river. In doing this, two primary hubs of pedestrian flow at the east and west are connected through public atriums. Operating as a public plaza, as well as a vertical concourse to the building’s upper skystreet, the central public atrium divides the internal shell and directly links the Hai He River with He Ping Lu. The concrete and glass structure curves dramatically upward from the riverside and converges with the opposing south façade, yielding a six-story building to meet the context of the Heping District.
The building materials promote transparency and legibility that allow the interior program to engage the surrounding streets. The design provides for a variety of uses to be arrayed along two major interior boulevards. This circulation is intentionally porous with frequent active entries along the streets that allow the building to operate as a modern version of a traditional bustling merchant setting. In turn, rather than only being a terminus, the building becomes an integrated constituent of the urban traffic. One of the longest single structures in China, stretching over 350 meters, the project aims to activate the regenerated riverfront as it rethinks the role of China’s urban market.
Location: Tianjin, China
Client: Hang Lung Properties
Size: 1.6 million ft2 / 153,000 m2
Award: AIA New York City Chapter Design Award (2010), MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Award (2007)