A competition-winning design from MVRDV offers an “urban living room” that will serve as a nature-filled escape from city life. The sustainability-focused design includes a host of public programmes, including a gallery, library and outdoor theatre and will be powered by solar and irrigated by harvested rainwater.
The pebble-like forms of the terraces offer large overhangs for shade © Atchain
Shenzhen Terraces, a 101,300-square-metre mixed-use complex, is the brainchild of design firm MVRDV. A skyscraper-filled megacity described as a “three-dimensional urban living room” is designated for the city of Shenzhen in the Longgang district of China; the recent winner of an architecture competition hosted by the Shimao Group.
“Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s,” says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape.”
Shenzhen Terraces is the competition winning design from MVRDV © Atchain
If built, Shenzhen Terraces will serve as the core of a new university district. Containing over 20 buildings, the project will provide a library, art gallery, conference centre, commercial spaces and transport hub, among other facilities.
The large open-air atrium at its centre features landscaping by Openfabric that will provide large shaded areas, activity plazas and reflective pools, plus large green lawns on the rooftops. The layout of these spaces has been designed with the intent to encourage walking and cycling.
According to the architects, the design’s landscaping echoes the pebble-like forms of the terraces above to create patches of greenery and public programming between pedestrian routes. These patches host planting that imitates the sub-tropical natural forests of the region, mixed alongside features such as grassy hills, palm tree-filled plazas, public art, and activity zones for pursuits such as climbing or table tennis.
The multi-level design forms open-air plazas below © Atchain
“The central concept of Shenzhen Terraces is to merge the existing landscape with the new development by using stacked plateaus for its various buildings,” says MVRDV.
“The predominantly horizontal lines of the terraces contrast with the vertical lines of the surrounding highrises to bring about a sense of tranquillity through their slow curving shapes. The terraces are adapted to serve a diversity of functions: large overhangs shield the visitors from the hot sun, while offering places to sit and enjoy the view. These shaded terraces create places for plants and water basins that cool the verandas and create a climate buffer to the interiors.
“The largest building — containing among other things a bus terminal, conference centre, and entrepreneurship centre on the east of the site — is carved out in its centre to form an open-air atrium. Finally, bridging elements are introduced between the various buildings, turning the second floor into a continuous route and connecting it with the surrounding developments.”
The mixed-use complex provides a multitude of public programmes © Atchain
Large solar panel arrays will be placed on the rooftops of many of the buildings, which will be constructed of recycled concrete, with the aim of greater sustainability for the project. The energy produced by the panels will be used to generate electricity for the site. Rainwater will also be collected from the site and stored for use in irrigation.
No announcements have been made yet with regard to the start of construction on Shenzhen Terraces.
Images © Atchain via MVRVD