BU Centre

Located in Yinggang East Road, Qingpu, Shanghai, BU Center is optimally situated near the city’s West transportation hub, with the Shanghai Hongqiao Station and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport being two stops away via the city metro line. It is also close to key attractions, such as the Hongqiao World Center and the National Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The design takes inspiration from the classic Jiangnan Chinese gardens, which integrate landscapes, hills and rivers, with the architectural elements. By adopting the traditional garden’s praxis of shifting scenery, the design injects pockets of green spaces to encourage interactions amongst workers while installing roof gardens and planted walkways to create a place to relax and socialise.

The primary objective is to design a retail hub that integrates office spaces, commercial and hotel facilities and to promote an innovative office experience and urban lifestyle with ample public spaces. The mixed-use development comprises three high-rise office blocks, three low-rise office blocks, a luxury hotel, a convention centre and a mall and retail street.

The design subverts traditional office typology by reshaping the low-rise office blocks into a series of open courtyards. Elements of the classic gardens are reinterpreted in modern architectural languages and implemented throughout the development, from the master layout plan to the facade details.

The ancient Chinese folding screens inspire the low-rise folding façade. In contrast, a series of bamboo-like aluminium fins are wrapped around the high-rise tower, serving as a shading device, symbolising prosperity. A variety of sceneries is made possible by the dissection of building blocks, which generates a vast array of interstitial spaces to contain many views and encourages connectivity. On the other hand, the high-rise office blocks are designed to be highly efficient spaces wherein the outline is sharp and clean and the layout uniform.

Modelled on the traditional Chinese eaves, the canopy is elevated to create a floating effect. It unites the disparate building blocks and enables a harmonious coexistence of spaces under one roof, serving as a talisman for the building’s overall identity.

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in Construction+ Q4 2021 Issue: Role of Construction Sector in Low-Carbon Urban Development.
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Project Name
BU Centre
Shanghai, China
Status of Construction
Gross Floor Area
348,062 square metres
Architecture Firm
Design Directors
Global Design Principal, Christine Lam; Global Design Principal, David Clayton
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