Zhuhai, China, recently named the most livable city in China by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, will soon be home to a new 5.6 million-sf mixed-use neighborhood that will feature offices, residences, retail, and infrastructure. The city was recently connected to Hong Kong and Macau via the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world.
Designed by SOM, the new neighborhood will feature a robust transportation hub that offers connections to land, sea, and rail across more than 40 acres; five modular canopies that envelop three sides of a 1.8 million-sf port, weaving together a landscape of towers behind it and creating a series of covered pedestrian alleyways; a retail environment; and interlinked courtyards along the waterfront promenade.
The canopy forms are inspired by the Fisher Girl, a local legend, and reflect the fishing nets commonly seen on the coastline throughout the region. Additionally, the canopies will increase interior comfort and building efficiency by filtering daylight, harvesting energy via photovoltaic panels, and capturing rainwater.
At the heart of this new neighborhood will be a 1,045-foot-tall tower inspired by the form of a lighthouse Fresnel lens. The tower comprises 35 floors of office space topped by a 20-story Ritz-Carlton hotel with a skybox and observation deck. The tower is diagonally bisected by an axis that appears to peel open the facade, revealing a vertical atrium that offers visitors views of the bay.
The neighborhood will use Zhuhai’s most abundant natural resources, the sea and the sun, to reduce natural gas consumption, conserve water, and create a comfortable environment for residents, office workers, shoppers, and those seeking an active nightlife.
In a release, SOM Design Director Sean Ragasa said of the design, “We wanted our design to resonate with the culture and history of Zhuhai, and to evoke a story that’s familiar to everyone who lives there.”