Construction Starts on CapitaLand’s Raffles City Ningbo

Press Release:
(Ningbo, China, 12 October 2010): Construction is underway on SPARCH’s landmark Raffles City Ningbo development, a one-stop shopping, dining, business, and lifestyle destination covering some 157,800 sq m.

In order to realize the project, a world-class design team is assembled, led by award-winning architects SPARCH, and including Meinhardt (MEP consultant), Arup (fire engineer), MVA (traffic consultant) and the Ningbo local design institute (LDI).

Ningbo is home to China’s second largest port, boasting an increasingly affluent population. Raffles City Ningbo was launched last year, graced by Singapore Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and Zhejiang Province Vice-Governor Mr. Gong Zheng. The project, which comprises a mall, a Grade A office tower and serviced residences, is the latest in the “Raffles City” brand developed by Singapore-based CapitaLand.

Raffles City Ningbo is located to the east of the Yuyao River, within the Jiangbei district, next to Ningbo’s historical downtown. The project marks the final phase of CapitaLand’s masterplan and will act as a catalyst development for the Jiangbei District, creating a new downtown district in the city. The planned subway link beneath the office tower will cement the development into the city’s infrastructure and assist in the creation of this new shopping and business destination.

According to Stephen Pimbley, CEO of SPARCH:
“In order to meet the needs of the full spectrum of end users, the development has a “slow domestic face” and a “fast civic face”. The residential component sits on the corner of a landscaped, sunken courtyard: this helps moderate and articulate the scale of the tower and creates a calm domestic environment, sheltered from the noise of the city by the mass of the retail podium.” He continues: “The animated face of the retail podium and the office building engage directly with the city and link the older part of Ningbo across the river with the developing quarter, anchored by Raffles City.”


Although Raffles City Ningbo is a large-scale development by any standards, SPARCH has designed the various components to work on a human scale. Wavy, layered ribbons, reminiscent of the strata found in rock formations are used throughout. Pimbley explains: “This is not just an architectural device to break up the mass of the building facing the residential tower; it has become something of a letmotif, tying all aspects of the development together. In the context of the retail podium, for example, this applied, ribbon aesthetic enables each part of the structure to fit seamlessly together, lending the building a feeling of an almost domestic scale, so often lacking in the ubiquitous shopping mall box.”

The retail podium has already been awarded a Green Mark Gold Badge by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority. Pimbley says, “The building balances spatial demands with sustainable requirements. Excessively high spaces, beloved by many mall developers, are perceived to add quality and value. In my view, they create extra building volume which requires more energy to heat and cool and therefore can be wasteful and unsustainable.”

Project description:

Raffles City Ningbo project is a new mixed-use development, consisting of an office tower, a residential tower and a retail podium. It is located to the east of the Yuyao River, within the Jiangbei district, next to the Ningbo historical downtown.

Designed by SPARCH in conjunction with Meinhardt (MEP consultant), Arup (fire engineer), MVA (traffic consultant) and the Ningbo local design institute (LDI), an experienced world class team to make this development a successful development for Ningbo.
The project is the final phase of CapitaLand’s overall masterplan and development of plots 1 to 5. Plots 1 to 4 are high-end residential and apartments, plot 5 is the mixed-used component, designed not just as the community service facilities for plots 1 to 4, but considered as the catalyst development of the Jiangbei District, the new city downtown.

The site planning strategy for plot 5 is to provide two different kinds of the spatial experiences, “Fast Express” and “Soft Leisure”.
The retail podium sits at the intersection of two main city roads: South Daqing Road & Jingjia Road, as the “Fast Express” interface for the city, showing the speed, power and image of rapidly expanding Ningbo. The 90-m high office tower located at the corner of these two main roads will be the exciting visual link from Jiefang Bridge, the main connection between Jiangbei District and the historical downtown cross the Yuyao River. In front of the office and retail podium, a sunken plaza creates a dynamic space link between the South Daqing Road and Jiangjia Road, also connecting to the future the subway station. And at the rear of podium, facing the four residential plots, the serviced apartment & central sunken courtyard provide a quiet public space as the “Soft Leisure” interface to the residential community.

The envelope of the office, residential and podium block will be clad using Low E double glazing, and a variety of insulated cladding materials. The roof of the podium block provides natural daylight to the shopping atrium; the translucent skylight is surrounded by a natural green landscape.

The retail podium will act as a magnet to the new CBD central business district, providing entertainment, food and beverage, retail therapy and landscaped public space.

The podium is over four levels + roof top restaurant and comprises retail and entertainment facilities.
The entry sequence from South Daqing Road is though a glazed rotating door below a protected triangulated glazed canopy. Once inside, you are connected with a dynamic 3 dimensional experience of intersecting diagonal bridges at the 4 upper levels of the retail podium with a backdrop of the atrium skylight casting shadows and dappled daylight into the space below. This natural daytime illumination will change into a multicolored soft lighting palette at nighttime.
Levels B1 and Level 1 have a direct link to the landscape, reinforcing and underlining the importance of green connections throughout the development, exceeding the green requirements set out by the Ningbo Planning Department.

Levels 1-3 provide a variety of retail experiences interconnected across an expansive central atrium with visual and physical connection to the external courtyard spaces via terraces and window decks.

Level 4 of the podium is the entertainment zone providing, cinema, electronic game, restaurants and special retail shops such as a DVD, music, and hobby (model) shop.

There are 2 sunken courtyards, one is an island wrapped by landscaping, the other courtyard is located adjacent to the main entrance links to the subway is wrapped by retail units.

Surrounding the sunken courtyards, are water features, timber decked walkways, open lawns, and feature planters.
The podium façade facing the sunken courtyard is layered in a topographical manner reducing the apparent scale of the building in relationship to the human scale and character of the sunken courtyard and landscaped strategy.

The landscaped roof level is a special destination and attractor for the project and a further enhancement of the communal leisure space.
The podium roof landscape acts as moderating link between the retail facilities, the office and the residential tower, a natural, tranquil, and simple green footprint, a refuge space within the overall business development.

600m² Food and Beverage accommodation lines and animates the edge of the podium landscape atrium serving the building interior and exterior from floating decks and pavilions.

The office tower is a 15-storey high, facetted squared shape in plan. A winter garden spatial void is cut through the vertical South façade, thus acting as a key element to the tower, increasing a natural flow of air through the internal space and providing key views from the tower towards the river and facilitating an extension of the green landscape strategy vertically through the building.
The office tower starts from level 5 over the 4 levels of retail below.
The building envelope changes at this point as an expression of the junction between retail and office and the changing nature of the retail components it shrouds within a frameless glass façade.

The office tower façade is combination of clear glazed vision panels, translucent fritted glass panels and panels with solid infill. The solid panels provide a 50:50 ratio of solid and glazing to meet the desired criteria of reducing dependency on cooling and cooling and maintaining the highest possible environmental standards for the façade and associated systems.

Sited on the north-western site of the development, the tower consists of 20 levels of apartment units, 1 level of clubhouse/sports facilities and a ground floor lobby that provides business communication facilities as well as fine dining restaurants for the residents and public.
The serviced apartment tower stands alone adjacent to the retail podium and sunken courtyard. It houses 160 luxury apartment units, enhancing Ningbo city’s position as a focal point for high-end living. The tower houses a mixture of studio apartments, 1 BR and 2BR units designed with simple, classical modern elegance appropriate to this developing city quarter.

The clubhouse provides residents with the exclusive use of a swimming pool and gym with views towards the river edge, away from the buzz of the city. The southern façade of the tower is composes as long, slim and elegant strips of balconies that maximize the vantage view towards the river while it gradually morphing into a ribbon of sleek aluminum panels.

The overall form of the tower is not unlike a bamboo (a plant that is connected with righteousness and dignity in Chinese culture) growing through the elegantly designed landscape/waterscape and pedestrian decks surrounding the tower, to represent a spiritual connection to the local Chinese culture.

Area Schedule

– Site: 27,899 sqm
– GFA: 157,807 sqm
– Above ground: 91,898 sqm
 Including: serviced apartment (22 levels) 19,700 sqm
 Offices (15 typical levels) 30,300 sqm
 Retail podium (4 levels + roof restaurant) 41,898 sqm

– Under ground (3 levels): 65,909 sqm
 Including: retail at B1 10,000 sqm
 Civil defense: 16,000 sqm
 Car parking & plant room: 39,909 sqm

– GFA (for FAR): 97,898 sqm
– FAR: 3.51
– Building coverage: 48.2%
– Green coverage: 20.0%
– Serviced apartment units: 160 units
– Car parking: 653 lots
– Bicycle parking: 3,700 lots

Architecture, Landscape & Interior Design: SPARCH
Design Directors: Stephen Pimbley, Jan Clostermann
Team: Christian Täubert, Chengming Xu, Jacky Chen, Yuhua Chen, Cary Cheng, Jiakai Guo, Javen Ho, Akin Jabar, Ren-Jie Li, Wenhui Lim , Minghao Liu, Wenhui Lu, Oren Rabinowitz, Shufan, JianYu Wu, Wenzhen Yee, Leo Zhang, Zhanghua
Local Design Institude: NingBo Architecture Design Institude
MEP consultant: Menhardt China
Quantity Surveyor: DLS
Façade Engineering: RFR Paris
Specialist Structure Engineering: RFR Paris
Lighting consultant: BPI
Traffic Engineering: MVA
Fire Engineering: ARUP
Signage: Trycool
Interior Design Ascott Hotel: SLA

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