Urban Habitat - District/Master Plan Scale Award of Excellence: UNI-Center, Shenzhen

UNI-Center occupies a “mega-block” on reclaimed land in one of China’s fastest-growing cities. With projects at such a large scale, variations in landscape and textures are important for wayfinding and for differentiation of retail and residential zones. In the shopping areas, for example, curving balconies and varying setbacks break down the monolithic tendencies of a large development, highlighting the experience of the outdoors while still providing sufficient shelter in Shenzhen’s hot and rainy climate.

It was also important that the project be permeable and interface well with all modes of transport. The public walkway system is fully integrated with the Metro station at the B2 level, and pedestrian flow lines are optimized to connect the station with the sunken plaza, outdoor commercial street, bus terminal and urban square. Towers are based around the perimeter of the site, and are spaced such that multiple gateways are formed, drawing people into the interior.

The material palette responds both to the design requirements of differently programmed areas, and to the southern coastal climate. The office buildings are principally designed with wide-spanning, low-e hollow glass curtain walls, while the residential buildings are furnished with aluminum cladding, interspersed with an imitation stone texture, so as to guard against discoloration and corrosion in the littoral climate. The retail section is surfaced with a combination of granite and coated glass. The landscape design employs materials consistent with the towers, especially the mirror-finished stainless steel of the interactive theme sculptures in the main square.

View Building on The Skyscraper Center