Shenzhen Archives is an internationally recognized project that creates a distinctive urban experience in the heart of Shenzhen’s Meiling District which connects City Center and the new North Railway Station. Shenzhen Archives has been bestowed with the Design Excellence Award in the AIA Chicago 2011 Design Awards program in the unbuilt design category.
The design is founded on the concept of urban and architectural articulation into a co-exiting and synergic system. Creating an extensive urban space, the design unifies four land parcels (city blocks) by removing dividing streets. Circulation is re-organized, thereby harnessed, by introducing a peripheral one-way street system. The enlarged spatial boundary establishes an appropriate scale and symbolic relationship with the City Plaza. The Archive precinct is emphasized and defined formally with a continuous floating perimeter block which embraces four discrete volumes: three towers and a cube. This framework defines an internal landscape, a transition from chaos of the streets into a landscaped urban oasis. The circular green zones indicate building entries inviting traversing pedestrians to explore the premises. Public functions, exhibition spaces and select retail are housed in the permeable perimeter block, activating the ground-scape and encouraging thorough circulation and street interface. The perimeter block permits direct access to the towers at the upper levels, intersecting the towers through sky-lit bridges.
Discrete functional elements establish a new internal urban realm within the frame. The spatial focus – a carefully positioned cube contains public functions, an exhibition hall, a conference hall and an archival information center. Inspired by traditional forms, three shimmering archival towers embody abstracted pagoda characteristics, symbolically protecting archive documents within. The ‘pagoda’ towers vary in height and façade treatment – creating individual identity expressing the differentiated nature of stored archival information. Shaped apertures are strategically located on the double façade, protecting valuable contents, while creating an energy efficient envelope.
The project engenders a communicative quality, setting the Archive in dialogue with the surroundings. It is in this assimilation of its context into the architectural domain, that Archive campus becomes a remarkable and distinct design contributing enhanced public, commercial and institutional space to the city of Shenzhen.