Project type: Retail
Location: Wuhan, China
Status: Concept Design Proposal
In an earlier design for the Wanda Shopping Mall in Shanghai Baoshan we explored ways of enhancing the design by modifying the spatial experience rather than just through the surface treatment of the interiors. We made minor alterations to the floor plans and introduced balconies into the atrium and arcade voids. The effect was a stunning three-dimensional space that had a sense of being in motion, marking a radical departure from the conventional repetitive rectangular voids.
The design for the six-storey shopping mall in Wuhan presented an opportunity to explore this concept further. The proportions of the mall are narrow, and the height of the atrium extends over six floors offering the chance to create long views through the different offset floor levels.
The openings in the arcade floor levels shift slightly on each level, the rectangular openings distorting and rotating slightly to create unusual edge situations. The openings around the atriums have been altered from the typical circular opening to large triangular shapes with rounded corners. Each floor is slightly offset from the next, giving the space a sense of dynamic motion.
The shopfronts likewise depart from the straight line, following the undulations of the voids, expressing motion and counteracting the static repetition of orthogonal and parallel surfaces. The roof structure enhances this concept further and is conceived as a continuous structure that changes height and span along its length, rather than as separate sections. Like the floor slabs, the roof follows the distortions of the opening below. The height and angle of its three top surfaces changes continuously to create a dynamic undulating form. To achieve this effect without making the construction inordinately complex, five construction shapes are used in alternation.
The notion of motion, and “speed” is further emphasized by the floor pattern which features ribbon-like intarsia that weave along the arcades and through the atria in curvilinear oscillations. Illuminated linear coving along the shopfronts and ceilings highlights the impression of ‘speed’.
The materials of the proposed design pick up ‘the Macintosh aesthetic’ of silvery aluminum ceilings with chamfered edges and grey-tinted glass railings. This slick high-tech appearance aims to appeal to the employees of the numerous high-rise offices in the vicinity. The result is a shopping mall targeted at high-income, young urban professionals.