WORK Architecture Company, in collaboration with Zhubo Architecture Studio, ARUP and Balmori Associates has won the international invited competition to redesign a 1-kilometer section of Hua Qiang Bei Road. This project offers Shenzhen a solution to Hua Qiang Bei Road’s traffic congestion while creating a series of new contemporary public spaces for the city. The proposal consists of five above-ground mixed-use public facilities, a new streetscape and traffic design and an underground boulevard connecting four new metro lines to the street and neighboring buildings.
Hua Qiang Bei Road has emerged naturally from an industrial district to become Shenzhen’s premier shopping and electronics Street. This success has unfortunately also created traffic problems, for cars and buses as well as congestion for pedestrians. In addition, HQB finds itself today in need of a new contemporary expression to reflect its destination status, without overwhelming its existing character.
Five iconic “lanterns” are therefore created by twisting the required program and the 5M-wide zone on either side of the road available for public development into sinuous bands, creating unique, visible public destinations through a process of “urban acupuncture” – strategically affecting change where required. The proposed lanterns are high enough to maintain views across the street, while still providing shade and bridge connections across. Each Lantern contains special destination public programs - an electronics museum at the south, an urban information hub in the electronics district, an elevated public park at the center, a “figure eight” observation pavilion and a fashion and design museum at the north. Each also acts as a specific piece of ecological infrastructure: filtering and storing rainwater, providing solar power, creating space and providing infrastructure for productive gardens, etc.
Underground, the new connective spaces provide public amenities – a public library, a food court and a series of performance and gallery spaces – as well as connections across the street and between metro lines.
The design, led by WORKac partners Amale Andraos and Dan Wood and Zhubo Chief Architect Feng Guochuan, was chosen from twelve submissions by internationally renowned firms. Xu Chong Guang, the Vice Chairman of the Shenzhen Planning Bureau, commented that “Shenzhen is a new city, and very experienced in creating new districts. However, we have not yet had the opportunity to renew existing districts. WORKac’s very important project is the first to build upon an existing urban condition to create a new public image for one of Shenzhen’s most important destinations.”
The project will be executed by WORKac (New York) and Zhubo (Shenzhen). WORKac and Zhubo are currently also engaged in a new competition to design a 4 square kilometer “low carbon city center” for the Pingshan District in the northeast of Shenzhen.