• The Aedas-designed Urban Mecca in Shenzhen

    31 January 2024

    With an aim to transform the ‘urban ghetto’ and change the way people live for generations to come, Aedas has embarked on a 10-year journey to create the largest urban regeneration that Shenzhen has ever seen in Shangsha Village next to the Futian CBD. Led by Founder and Chairman Keith Griffiths, the design derives from a concept that focuses on blending the past and the future through the incorporation of technology, art, and nature. Phase 1 of the development, which was completed in 2022, consists of a twin office tower, a retail mall, serviced apartment towers and a boutique hotel, building a new city that preserves the area’s historical significance while creating a modern and sustainable urban environment.

    The site is in close proximity to Lok Ma Chau Loop where all the eclectic economic and commercial activities happen. The mixed-use development consists of two high-rise towers towards the north portion of the site with three luxury serviced apartment towers facing the south, all sitting on a three-storey retail podium. The design of the development was inspired by the surrounding natural terrain and the alluring synergy created by the water and landscape. ‘With distant views of the wetlands fronting Binhe Road, the twin towers become the gateway to the city, facilitating the ease of transport and various activities, it is indeed a city hub that embodies functionality and aesthetics,’ says Leon.

    To facilitate footprints and create a diverse interface for the development, retail spines and communal spaces like event spaces and green spaces are interspersed within the development. With the retail main entrance set directly at the back of the eastern office tower, it forms an immediate bridge between the shoppers and the office workers. Nodes are created on both office and retail plots to link up the two phases of the development, while the serviced apartments are located on the western perimeter to allow for views towards the wetland and golf course.

    Office Twin Towers

    Fronting a main boulevard, both towers are about the main road while the eastern tower has been deliberately set back, creating a public plaza and a retail annex between them, and opening up the city-facing boulevard for visitors to proceed into the development.

    A fluid and smooth design language has been adopted, with a minimal façade design to contrast the busy surroundings of Shangsha. Albeit made simple, the façade is dynamic and adapted to efficient technical measures. The tower blends from a highly reflective surface to a transparency at the lower levels revealing its different functions. The fluid canopy transcends towards the entrance to the development, representing the gateway into Shangsha.

    ‘The shapes of the towers were designed to not only respond to the site conditions, but also to address the urban context and exemplify the “Power of Two”. We went for purity to make our towers stand out from this urban chaos and orchestrate an effortless expression,’ says Keith.

    Retail Podium

    The 5-storey retail complex of C Future City is bright and lively, injecting vibrancy into the neighbourhood by offering a magnitude of experiences to users, such as reserving space for performance exhibitions, pop-up art installations and commercial roadshows, marking itself as the go-to place for an immersive experience of the latest trends. The mall features a selection of anchor shops, indoor and outdoor F&B facilities, and a rooftop garden for an alfresco shopping experience.

    The main entrance to the retail podium is an event space revealed by a 13-metre curtain wall made of ultra-clear glass, establishing a visual connection between the indoor and outdoor areas while enhancing the public’s interaction with the development. Through utilising different materials, the façade adopts a fluid composition and creates a gesture of ‘flow’, connecting visitors with the mall.

    Further south of the main entrance forms a sunken courtyard that allows an alternative way into the retail space with a direct connection to the basement level and public transport. It features a curtain wall that provides more retail frontage which eludes vibrancy and increases commercial value. The sunken courtyard also highlights a digital installation in collaboration with TeamLab, providing a picturesque and immersive retail experience to visitors. Utilising outdoor spaces, the design creates a public realm on the roof of the podium with greenery-adorned restaurant pavilions, creating a biophilic and porous social space. Local residents and visitors may enjoy the rare tranquillity in an urban space to socialise with friends and family. The roof also helps facilitate footprints between the developments, promoting interaction and a healthy lifestyle.

    Serviced Apartment Towers

    Above the retail podium, three towers of serviced apartments stand tall which offers over 136,000 sq m of residential spaces. The orientation of the towers optimises the unit mix and views.

    ‘The regeneration project redefines the way people live, work and play in Shangsha, serving as the benchmark for all future developments in Shenzhen. We transform these urban villages into quality future public spaces that will while respecting heritage to create a community for the future – C Future City.’ Chris says.

    At present, phase 2 of the development is well underway, consisting of retail and F&B facilities, residential buildings, as well as recreational amenities such as a clock tower and dancing water pavilion.

    Project: C Future City Phase 1
    Location: Shenzhen, PRC
    Client: Centralcon Group
    Design Architect: Aedas
    Design Consultant: QUAD
    LDI: A+E Design
    Interior Design: CCD
    Lighting: RDI, GD
    Façade Consultant: RFR, PFT
    Landscape Consultant: Toshiki Toda Landscape & Architect
    Greenwall Consultant: Patric Blanc
    Media Arts: TeamLab
    Brand Consultant: Stockholm Design Lab
    Gross Floor Area: 546,000 sq m
    Design Directors: Keith Griffiths, Founder and Chairman; Chris Chen, Executive Director; Leon Liang, Executive Director
    Completion Year: 2022
    Photography: TAL

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