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Created and Sold by Heatherwick Studio


The Bund Finance Center - Architecture

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The studio won a competition to sign a 4 million square foot development for the Bund in Shanghai’s last empty site, at the pivot-point between the Bund’s historic grand colonial buildings, the city’s old town and a financial district.

Deciding to collaborate on an equal basis with Foster + Partners, a scheme was developed that reconciled the client’s requirement for offices, a hotel, retail spaces and the city plan’s requirement for twin towers.

Exploring how the masterplan for the site could make its buildings relate to the broader old town neighbourhood, a solution was developed to compose the whole project from smaller building components that vary in height in response to lower buildings nearby.

Organised like extruded volumes, the finished scheme consists of rustic hand carved stone building frames – contrasting with the latest office façade technology. Intricate detailing at the base of the buildings pares back as they rise, giving a sense of lightness towards the top, with bronze detailed in-fill panels creating interest up close.

At the heart of the project is the public plaza and cultural centre which is designed to host theatre, art exhibitions and fashion shows. Elevated and cantilevered on two pillars, the centre recalls the tradition of raised, open Chinese theatres where actors performed to those inside as well as those standing outside.

The kinetic façade creates a link between the inside and out and is composed of 675 individual metal ‘tassels’ arranged on three tracks. When the tracks rotate around the perimeter, the tassels overlap to produce different levels of opacity and varied apertures.

Each tassel is clad with coloured stainless steel sleeves. Inspired by patterns of Chinese weaving, ropes and knots, the studio worked with local craftsman to develop embossed textures for the sleeves. The textures vary in scale and become more diffuse as the tubes rise, reducing the sense of weight.

The masterplan acts as a gateway to the neighbouring districts and will open in 2017.

Collaborators: ECADI, Fosters+Partners, Jangho Group Co. Ltd, Sanxin Façade Engineering Co. Ltd, Shanghai Building Decoration Engineering Group Co. Ltd, Shanghai Construction No 2 and No 7 (Group) Co. Ltd, Shanghai Gardens (Group) Co. Ltd, Shanghai Gardens Engineering Co. Ltd, Shanghai New Century Industrial Equipment Ltd, Wah Heng Glass & Aluminium Products (Shanghai) Ltd, Wuhan Lingyun Building Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd, Zhejiang Yasha Curtain Wall Co. Ltd

Item The Bund Finance Center
As seen in The Bund Finance Center, Huangpu Qu, China