Urban Lifestyles Changing from the Station

Shanghai Greenland Center, China

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“They were able to build a giant park in the middle of a major city!?” –On China’s SNS exchange sites there is a place generating buzz right in the center of Shanghai. That place is called “Shanghai Greenland Center / Xuhui Greenland Being Funny.” It is located above a two-line subway station and had its grand opening in April 2017. The area that appears to be a park is a green area sitting atop a commercial facility. It is the largest in scale in Shanghai at approximately 20,000 m2, and from it soars two office buildings and a SOHO building. With a smile on his face design manager Hiroyuki Suga stated, “When people use this station I want them to want to stop for coffee while they’re there. I will be pleased if I can provide that sort of urban lifestyle.”



The Green Valley Mechanism: Leading Upward

  “There is no doubt that in ten years this place will be loved by all city residents.” The client was in agreement with our proposal which remained consistent from the initial planning.
  Shanghai development projects typically involve one dominant large box built within a single urban division, into which the shops are then arranged. However, we decided upon a different approach. Based upon the underground station, greenery was added to the roofs of the terraced commercial facility. This created a valley of green. As the slope takes on a rising form from directions near the station, the view extends as far as the eye can see. This mechanism encourages station users to move upward to all over the urban district, just as the green valley leads upward.
 Places where people congregate such as station entrances and exits, as well as the entrances to bus terminals, office buildings and the SOHO building entrance are daringly separated from one another. These are connected with semi-outdoor avenues that allow the breeze to pass. Along these streets stores were arranged. This mechanism is to create bustle on the city streets.
  We gave consideration to the building façades as well, hoping people will go around the entire town. We changed the layering of natural ventilation louvers and aluminum shade fins to alter the appearance of the façade based on the viewing angle. The concept is “rotational,” and is designed to make people want to go around to the other side of the building.
  The client is the Greenland Group, one of China’s top real estate companies. Along with the company name, the giant green slope is called the “Urban Firm” In walking around the Urban Firm, station users, bus terminal users and office workers can closely experience the greenery of nature even within their regular urban lifestyles. There is no need to go out and take therapeutic walks in the forest on the weekends.
  An important goal for the client planning this facility was to draw large numbers of people and ensure profitability. As stated previously, we responded to this goal in a manner that varies from traditional methods. There were two broad points to the proposal.

Creating the Value of Richness in Life

  The first is the Urban Firm, introduced up to this point. Given that city is being densely redeveloped and we could not build the facility directly above the tracks, we considered from the first stages of planning to make the area above the tracks into a park to be loved by the city residents. As we continued our investigations, we came upon the idea of unifying with nature not only the area above the tracks but the entire facility. We wondered if this would make it seem as if the stores were in an area of greenery. This is how the Great Greenland was born. We aimed to have visitors come to this town with the same sensations as visiting a real park.
  The second point is Transit Oriented Development (TOD), a specialty of Nikken Sekkei. This is a development concept that promotes the use of public transportation. It is also called “Station and Town Unified Development.” It is a way of thinking that calls for the building of facilities that tie the town to the station, with the station taking the lead role.

  The client understood the value of this Great Greenland and TOD-centered proposal. As the Urban Firm is a rooftop green space, it does not cut into the profit base. Our goal was to create a richness of life not seen in previous developments, and to do so upon ensuring profitability.
  Visiting the site one of course sees office workers and people using the subways and buses. The area is also bustling with many people taking their dogs for a walk and small children running on the Great Greenland. As evening approaches people living nearby gather and spend time there.
  I imagine everyone has grown tired of spaces closed off in boxes. I believe that through creating spaces constructed out of the Urban Firm and TOD concepts we have been able to point out a new sense of value- one in which people enjoy bustling, verdant towns.
  Today those of us living in Japan have come to expect urban development to add richness to our lives as a matter of course. Looking back on the history of development and growth, we can see a change toward that sense of values. We gained this sense of values over the course of our experience. We believe that to transmit this sense of values to the people of China as they realize rapid growth will assist in creating sustainable towns that will continue to be loved by the people well into the future. Our thinking in this regard is embedded in the Shanghai Greenland Center.

  • Zhong Xiao Lu

    Zhong Xiao Lu

    Executive Officer
    Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Nikken Sekkei Shanghai

    Lu Zhong Xiao joined Nikken Sekkei in 1994 after finishing graduate studies at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is currently CEO of the company's Shanghai office and is involved in Japanese and Chinese architectural designs. His WAF and MIPIM Asia award-winning portfolio includes Bank of China Tower, Shanghai (2000), Shanghai Citigroup Tower (2005), Shanghai Greenland Center (2017) and Suzhou Center (2017). Recently, he has been working on large-scale projects, including skyscrapers and TOD developments centered on rail stations. He is a first-class architect, a member of the Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ), and has co-authored two books: Sustainable Architecture (2009) and Integrated Station-City Development: TOD Recipe 46 (2019).

  • Tetsuo Tonouchi

    Tetsuo Tonouchi

    General Manager
    Global Architectural Design Group
    Architectural Design Department

    Joined Nikken Sekkei in 1994 after attending graduate school at Tokyo University of the Arts. Since joining the company he has managed the design of buildings with many types of uses, including aquariums, commercial facilities, and movie theaters. He is particularly experienced in the design of aquariums and in designing projects for Chinese clients. Making use of this valuable design experience, he strives to provide clear plan proposals that pursue the essence of the building. This is done in a manner that continually creates value, not only at the point of completion but over long periods of time.

  • Hiroyuki Suga

    Hiroyuki Suga

    Global Architectural Design Group
    Architectural Design Department

    Joined Nikken Sekkei in 2008. Specializes in architectural design. After joining the company, was involved in a wide range of design in Japan and overseas. Strives to propose spaces that contribute to both the city and society. Major projects include the Ningbo International Finance Center (2011), Otsuka Corporation Yokohama Building (2011), CITIC Plaza (2012), Ningbo Shipping Plaza Office Building (2015), and Shanghai Greenland Center (2017). He is also a first class architect and member of the Architectural Institute of Japan.

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