5+Design, a California-based architecture firm has released its architecturally and sociologically interesting design for a development in Shenyang (沈阳 / 瀋陽) in Liaoning Province (辽宁省 / 遼寧省).
Diamond Hill (钻石山 / 鑽石山) will be a 2.5 million square feet mixed-used development with a four-story shopping mall, commercial office space, residential space on top of transportation hub that includes a 12-line bus depot and tram lines and pedestrian connections to underground rail. The outline of Diamond Hill’s buildings was inspired by and resemble mountain landscapes. Because of its asymmetry, the Diamond Hill will look very different from different vantage points. However, its angular design with peaks, foothills, and valleys is also the practical result of city building codes that limit buildings to 100 meters in height and their floor space to seven times the area of the site and require that . Additionally, because of Shenyang’s harsh winter climate, each residential unit is required to receive a minimum of two hours of sunlight exposure every day.
Project designer Ramón Hone explains “the only way to rationalize the design with the restrictions was to run the sun study. We analyzed the sun’s path on the site and we extruded volumes from the site to the maximum height that they could go without breaking the height limit and without infringing on the sun path. The resultant mass was then shaped to into Diamond Hill.”
Furthering the landscape metaphor, the exterior of the building will feature “alternating panels of glass and white metal or porcelain to evoke textured layers of sedimentary rock” and in the center, a glass atrium that allows light into the retail shopping area will symbolize a “pristine mountain lake”.
Looking to the sociological side, a portion of the development will be dedicated to lofts that serve as living and work spaces. Conceived from market research by the developer China Merchants Bank (招商银行) and marketed as “SOHO lofts” (small office/home office), the 390 units are “an acknowledgment by developers there that some of the younger generation are eschewing more traditional roles and venturing into entrepreneurialism and creative fields.
Consultant Mary Bergstrom told the The New York Times the 80s generation “started to question if they really wanted to get married, or buy a house or work in an office…Those born in the 1990s have taken that a step further, with a lot of freelancers or entrepreneurs with start-ups.”
The bank is targeting entrepreneurs in their late 30s and 40s but also expect investors to purchase the work/living units to rent to up and comers in their 20s and 30s.
Diamond Hill is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2017.
Images courtesy of 5+Design