Jiaxing, China – 2016
Jiaxing Island, a mixed use building designed by Shanghai-based Dutch architecture firms MORE Architecture and AIM Architecture, challenges the traditional notions of urbanization in China. By literally placing public space in the center of their project, the architects created a truly people-oriented architecture.
On the fringe of quickly urbanizing Jiaxing, a 1 million inhabitant city between Shanghai and Hangzhou, this complex finds itself in a ferociously dynamic context – where the countryside has been replaced by industrial zones and residential compounds in less than a decade. This radical transformation has had an immense impact of the scale of the urban fabric: from S to XL in less in ten years’ time.
Jiaxing Island is an antidote and alternative to these ubiquitous developments, by creating a human scale, mixed use environment with an emphasis on public space. The building complex consists of eight volumes merged into one building, offering a myriad of programs, uses, experiences…
The use of the building is extremely diverse – office, hotel, gallery, restaurants, kindergarten, sports – and these are divided over different buildings surrounding a central square, creating an urban village.
The square forms the heart of this village, with its public facilities – restaurants, gallery, kindergarten, shop – opening to it. The generous stairs which connect the square to an underground conference center that can be used as an open air auditorium. Since the square is car free, it is a great place for children to play.
The building mixes functions as much as possible by interconnecting the volumes on the second floor. Walking through this bridge one passes through a multitude of programs and activities: a flower garden, a contemporary art gallery, a hotel, an office, people having dinner, people swimming…
The architecture of the building is diverse and multi layered. The façade, made of Spanish sandstone, is closed in the alleys leading to the square, but rich and varied on the square and towards its surroundings. The voids and atriums in every volume create variations in views and perspectives.
Jiaxing Island challenges a couple of classic urban notions in China: the enormous scale, the north-south orientation, the car-dominated streets, the square as an expression of power. And by literally placing the public space at the heart of the project, the building ultimately mixes people…
Client: Jiaxing Huazhang Reals Estate Ltd.
Size: 16 000 sqm
Program: mixed use of offices, hotel, short stay apartments, gallery, 4 restaurants, pool, gym, kindergarten, conference center
Design scope: architecture, interior, landscape
MORE Architecture: Daan Roggeveen, Robert Chen, Jaime Fernández Rosa, Adrián Briega Muñoz, Xue Guangjie, Emilio Wang, Cherie Cheung, Stephen Kwok, Ma Yuanrong, Wang Bizhou
AIM Architecture: Vincent de Graaf, Wendy Saunders, Alejandro Felipe, Jane Ji, Dong Ker, Mavis Li, Jiao Yan, Zhou Min, Fredrik Garpenfelt, Allan Yin
Engineering: CSCEC/Zhang Ye and Tian Le
Photography: Dirk Weiblen