Gateway One is located at the southern tip of Shenzhen on the Nantou Peninsula, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Surrounded by water on three sides, Shekou wraps around the verdant Danan and Xiaonan mountains. The relationship between the dramatic subtropical coastline and its history of human intervention that generated the inspiration for SPARK’s design.
The architecture, landscape and interior design of the Gateway One Development were all designed by SPARK, the design language and motifs used are consistently providing Gateway One with a distinctive urban-garden identity.
The ground level of Gateway One is intentionally permeable facilitating pedestrian connections from adjacent city streets to the heart of the development. Taking inspiration from the Renaissance Nolli map of Rome where the boundaries between public and private spaces are combined to expanded to create more places for people.
On a broad urban scale, the office tower will be the project’s most distinctive component. Located on the corner of Taizi and Gongye third roads the office tower rises from a new verdant public square to a height of 27 levels marking the location of the most important commercial and leisure destination in Shekou. The tower has been designed to provide 1100m2 of column-free flexible floorplates with full digital connectivity to meet the demands of 21st-century office users. Each office floor has full height glazing with spectacular ocean views over Shenzhen bay with mountain views to the North.
The office tower’s base is connected to the adjacent retail pavilions physically and materially. The linear stone and aluminum façade of the retail pavilions merges with the tower façade anchoring the tower to the ground bringing visual continuity to the entire development. The upper retail terrace is connected directly to the office tower at level three giving office users year-round weather-protected access to the retail pavilions and supporting infrastructure.
The architecture, landscape, and Interiors all work in harmony to provide the Gateway One Development a richly layered, distinctive identity. More than just a commercial development the project is seen as a community meeting place for Shekou, creating a premier address for business and lifestyle.
Five conjoined retail pavilions are arranged to create convivial human scale courtyards that are well connected to the existing city streets. Four of the pavilions are clustered together protecting the heart of the development. The fifth pavilion an ‘‘urban lantern’’ straddles the center of the triangular site, articulating and providing a focal point for the two courtyards. ‘‘We have created spaces between the perimeter pavilions to connect the development directly to the city,’’ explains SPARK Director Stephen Pimbley. ‘‘These will provide routes into and through the retail ‘‘rooms’’ to integrate the project with the wider existing urban fabric,’’ he said.
The four-story pavilions are finished in horizontally layered panels of stone and aluminum, inspired by the rock strata of the adjacent mountains. The layering provides the project with a rich textural and color palette and a building scale that deliberately does not dominate but compliments and completes the busy Shekou streets. The entry corners of the pavilions are ‘‘softened’’ encouraging pedestrian flow into and through the development. The pavilions have continuous glazed shop fronts with ground-floor maximizing retail frontage designed to animate the city streets and courtyards.
‘‘With the retail environment flowing seamlessly into the interior courtyards at street level, the internal scale of these ‘‘retail rooms’’ will provide an intimate experience,’’ says Stephen Pimbley. The upper-level terraces wrap around the central lantern that opens onto terraced intimate dining destinations. The dining terraces help the building to remain vibrant outside the normal retail hours. ‘‘It’s a layered, open urban retail concept,’’ says Stephen Pimbley ‘‘that creates a unique environment in which to shop, work and play.’’
The inspiration for the landscape design is drawn from the human- scale of Shekou and the rich natural landscape surrounding the town and the layers of rock strata of the surrounding mountains. The synergy between indoor and outdoor space creates a seamless integration of interior and landscape design throughout the development.
The landscape weaves through the development in harmony with the horizontally layered architecture. It is composed of banded stone layers punctuated with metallic accent stripes, inspired by the seams of precious elements found in naturally occurring rock formations. The perimeter landscaping softens the footprint of the building, the sculptural planters and plant selection combined with the paving texture help moderate the building scale whilst directing people to the development. Paving and planting are complementary in texture, material and tone, a structure of textured landscape layers. The layers begin with the perimeter planting facing the street, progress to the lower arrival ‘‘room’’, then rising to the lantern terrace crowned by the green roofs of the retail pavilions.
Architects: SPARK Architects
Location: Shenzhen, China
Project Director: Stephen Pimbley, Wenhui Lim
Project Associates: Carlo Joson, Peter Morris
Team: Cynthia Liau, Rafal Kapusta, Lintang Wuriantari, Darmaganda, Mark Mancenido, Olivia Wong, Fabian Ong, Paula Zheng, Arnold Galang, Natasha Hill
Client: China Merchants
Façade Consultant: Arup
Local Design Institute: Guangdong Province Design Institute Shenzhen Branch