VANTONE CENTER | CLOU architects
Photo credit: Qingshan Wu
Project Name: Vantone Centre
Location: Hangzhou, China
Construction Area: 99,250 m2 above ground, 40,500 m2 parking
Architecture Design: CLOU architects
Design Team: Jan F. Clostermann, Phi Wenhui Lu, Tiago Tavares, Deborah Kaiser
Construction Drawings: MEP
Structure: Sunlay, China National Machinery Industry Corporation, China United Engineering Corporation
Photography: Qingshan Wu
The Vantone Center at Yuhang Future Science and Technology City is an 80,000 sqm mixed-used complex, merging retail, office space, and SOHO apartments into one destination. This project is designed to accommodate the multifaceted demands of a contemporary lifestyle.
The project site is located in the Yuhang ‘Future Science and Technology City’. Five years ago, during the first site visit, Yuhang District was considered the fringes of Hangzhou that still lined with villages and farmlands. The grand-scale development which would remodel Yuhang into a new economic center awaited commencement, and all its sites were poised for transformation. Therefore, the fundamental challenge was to envisage a design solution that could respond to inevitable changes, and to think in the near future, how could our project take a clear position along a rapidly shaping skyline?
The project and its neighbors, including Alibaba’s Xixi Campus, are part of the expanding Central Business District development in this area. As such, it is anticipated that neighboring sites will grow into high-density communities populated with high-rise towers.
In high-density developments, it is not uncommon for the arrangement of vertical volumes to produce residual, undefined spaces on the lower levels. This relationship, of looming towers contrasting with an open ground plane, creates a sensation of disconnect and uneasiness. Thus the design challenge was to eliminate the under-used spaces and curate a more integrated sense of place. By introducing communal and functional spaces throughout the entirety of the development, it activates the lower levels and offers users an additional focal point aside from the monumental towers. The ultimate result is a more integrated design offering a holistic user experience.
Relationship between towers and plaza
The project consists of one office tower that delivers quality workspace on 21 floors, and two 100-meter-equal-height SOHO towers that house flexible duplex units. The towers are joined at the base by a three-floor terraced podium that loops around a central plaza. The two SOHO towers are orientated to have East-West faces, while the office tower is intentionally rotated against this dominant direction. Set back from the intersection of two adjacent roads, the main façade of the office tower is positioned toward the busy crossing, opening up a triangular public plaza at its front that extends naturally into the green belt and streetscape of its surrounding.
Although moderately separated, the planning of the three towers manages to achieve the density required and offer pragmatic tenant layouts without sacrificing either daylight or scenic views towards the Xixi National Wetland Park to the Southeast. The terraced podium employs F&B and retail spaces, public patios, and balconies. Its multi-level connections facilitate and encourage circulation at the neighborhood level for enjoyable commercial and civic activities.
The curtain wall façade of the three towers features a pixelated pattern outlined by white granite stone cladding. In addition to the gridded outlines, a number of rectangular pixels on the office tower pop out as floating bay windows. These staggered boxes add another lively dimension to the building complex, contrasting with the vertical glazed skin on the SOHO towers to maintain a balanced visual appearance.
At present, the Yuhang ‘Future Science and Technology City’ is unveiling its undulated silhouette. Our project’s character is distinguishable against the vast development. The finished towers – two parallel and one rotated – “stretch upwards” facing their focal point, while the podium anchors itself to the ground. Winding pedestrian passageways that circulate inwards are more intimate to the passers-by, and terraced patios and balconies encircle into generous gathering spaces. Being in a somewhat monotonous and repetitive neighborhood, the Vantone mixed-use complex hopes to generate some inviting spatial transitions and visual variations.