The international architecture practice HWCD has developed a series of mixed-used towers located on the Yangtze River delta. The team from Nanjing Studio 14 submitted the project as part of a competition to establish an important hub in the centre of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province.
As a design firm they specialise in urban planning, architecture and interiors. Every project undertaken incorporates local culture into the design process, also playing a role in research and development. In order to ensure a firmly grounded cultural and environmental context, HWCD architects come from varying international and domestic backgrounds and work together to produce original and exclusive designs, according to a modern architecture paradigm.
The design team drew inspiration from the area, looking at the language of traditional local paintings depicting the landscape, while still working within what is a very modern and expanding metropolis. Nanjing was conceived as a ‘high-tech base for innovation’.
A variety of new technologies, such as rainwater harvesting, solar collectors, and geothermal pumps, have been implemented for environmental protection and energy-saving purposes. Studio 14 seeks to combine the traditional, the natural and the modern, as a harmonious addition to the skyline, thereby creating a new landmark for the city.
The development houses a multitude of uses, such as office spaces, a mall, leisure facilities, sports and public spaces, as well as a research component. The solution was a series of towers, two ultra high-rises and one high-rise, occupying a base land area of 109,100 square metres, connected by indoor and outdoor public space, landscaped areas and planted trellises, which climb over the towers in striking forms.
The shape of the towers evokes the traditional mountain paintings, with their tapering forms recalling the angular ‘faces’ of the mountains. Landscape, water and circulation systems flow around this, inspired by the local hanging gardens often depicted in local artwork. The towers use a limited palate of materials, predominantly brick and glass curtain walling, with the grey-blue brick inspired by the ancient city walls of China and the sense of scale they evoke. Local planting and materials help to integrate this new development fully into the area.