Set along the Pearl River Delta, the Pazhou district anchors the city’s expansion to the east. The winning master plan establishes a framework for the three-parcel site as a vibrant and iconic commercial destination that merges the new riverfront with the larger urban fabric.
A nautilus-like spiral defines the organizing concept for the complex, with its physical center providing a direct visual link to the city’s historic pagoda. The centerpiece of the development is a large public piazza, which helps unify the three urban parcels while clearly segregating pedestrian and vehicular activity. Sustainable design initiatives start with a series of elevated bridges that provide unobstructed breezeways and shade for the ground level. These bridges also house indoor social spaces linking the towers and are topped with habitable garden spaces that minimize the urban heat-island effect.
A landmark tower at the northeast corner of the site anchors the development in the skyline, positioned for maximum visibility and presence. The six other buildings encircle the piazza and are designed with podium-level retail and dining venues that activate the public spaces. Sky bridges between buildings define the perimeter of the piazza and link the complex, while maximizing views to the riverfront and adjacent canal. These elevated structures also form gateways that lend an overall permeability to the complex.
In the piazza, a terraced court rises from the site’s lower-level pedestrian access, passing beneath the development’s main connecting roadway. Lined with retail and restaurants, this court features a series of distinct landscaped amenities and terminates at a jewel-like exhibition facility, intended to be an educational and cultural venue. This entire network of pedestrian pathways also has a direct link to the area’s subway lines, providing convenient and intuitive access to the development.
Identified by a larger plan as parcels 4, 5 and 10, the three urban plots each includes a mix of commercial functions. Parcel 4 totals 210,000 square meters, featuring the landmark office and hotel tower, as well as a separate serviced apartment tower; the two are organized in a semicircular arrangement fronting the main piazza. Parcel 5 comprises 100,000 square meters, with three office towers triangulated on the development’s southernmost portion and configured around a secondary public plaza. Parcel 10 totals 118,000 square meters, including an office tower and a hotel, aligned along the adjacent canal. While each building will have its own unique identity, collectively, the buildings will form an ascending spiral, defining a singular urban gesture for the complex.
The Pazhou project represents GP’s fourth major assignment with Poly Real Estate. Other projects include a 159,000-square-meter mixed-use development in Deyang, including hotel, office, conference, and cultural functions; a 200-meter-tall office building in Shunde; and a two-tower, 150,000-square-meter office complex in Chengdu. As one of the largest real estate developers in China, Poly Real Estate operates 119 subsidiaries across 35 cities nationwide.
First published in the DesignClub on 18th Jun 2011
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