Shanghai, China – 2018
Sometimes one project is really ten projects. They start small – the client needs something specific, the idea is clear, the concept simple, but then one thing turns into another, and suddenly you’re building a neighborhood.
Metersbonwe is one of these projects. Since signing the contract in 2015, an architecture project has morphed into master planning, landscape, and interiors of a 200-room hotel, conference center, a museum, a Chinese garden, and staff accommodation. Not to mention a creative studio, two flagship stores, a training center, and a library. In short: A small city.
When does a single architect get the chance to work on such diverse aspects of a single project? Not often. A brief of this scale is rare in China, and so we found ourselves in the unusual position of planning for something that is constantly changing in both function and business model.
In order to make sense from the non-linear concept, we needed a structured design. Looking at the land, we divided our plan by direction, and thought of each part as micro cosmos – The south part of the property is densely urban, while the northern parts have more green space. It was a natural solution that, with some design finessing, we would provide context and texture to the MW campus concept.
In the northern part, we recreated the original agricultural intention of the land. Waterways, vegetation, and a central water area are surrounded by private buildings that house the library, training center, a traditional Chinese garden, and the creative studio.
To the south lies a more public area we intentionally urbanized. The commercial program, hotel, and flagships are built around a hardscape zone with a canal opening. The concepts of both areas are fluid and complimentary; contemporary technology and function influence the quiet corners of the campus, and the peaceful pace and tradition of the land bring balance to the commercial parts.
As one of our biggest projects to date, it is important that all aspects of the design communicate to each other, and the broader community, with one voice. The challenge – and fun – of working on a project this diverse is creating unity, and indeed, a small city, with contemporary values and cultural relevance.
Size: 11 200 sqm
Program: museum, library, hotel, , creative studio, training center villa and apartment
Design scope: masterplaning, architecture, landscape & interior
Design team: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf, German Roig, Alejandro Felipe, Javier Paz Taibo, Jaime Fernandez Rosa, LC, Vincent Zhou, Jovana Petrovic, Patrick Wu, Shirley Woo, Charles Liu, Dingchen, Jiaoyan
Design Management: Diane Wang, Tim Tian