Shanghai West Bund AI Tower & Plaza
Shanghai West Bund AI Tower & Plaza
Beijing Jianghe Curtain Wall Co., Ltd, Toto
Nikken Sekkei Ltd
Shanghai West Bund Development (Group) Co., Ltd.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd., Shanghai Construction Group
Mintwow, West Bund, Eiichi Kano
Xuhui District, China
Hospitality Architecture, Commercial Architecture, Buildings
Located on the west bank of the Huangpu River (West Bund), which runs north-to-south through Shanghai, this project comprises four buildings, including two skyscrapers.
Nikken Sekkei was selected in an international design competition in 2009 to lead a new urban development on the site of the former local Longhua Airport. The firm has been involved in local area urban and architectural design for over a decade.
The most distinctive feature of the project is the "wind design" of the overall layout and the shape of the building volumes.
The shape and exterior of the buildings, the public spaces in the commercial zone, the landscaping, and the interior designs reflect wind-generated streamlining. This concept runs through the entire project.
Like a pair of phoenixes spreading their wings, the towers spread out at lower levels, covering the ground and creating space for people to relax.
The inspiration for the wind-driven design of the entire site is strongly linked to the site’s history as an airport, an image maintained by the surrounding aviation industry, and the prevailing winds.
Simulation technology was incorporated early into the design process to predict wind flows and determine the optimal people-friendly tower layout. The wind-designed buildings also shape the air that flows to the surrounding area.
By rounding the corners of the towers and elongating their floor plans, steady wind currents flow more smoothly, reducing the downdraught effect characteristic of high-rise buildings and minimizing their impact on the surrounding environment.
Wind flow is also directed into the urban area behind the towers, helping to mitigate the heat island effect, an increasingly serious problem due to rapid urbanization.
The expansive foot of the buildings, reminiscent of “skirts,” creates a wind shelter and a large roof over the podium rooftop and ground level, softly blocking rain and strong sunlight, creating a comfortable public space.
The comfortable spatial nature of traditional Asian porches and eaves is reproduced in a modern, site-specific manner, resulting in a three-dimensional semi-outdoor space in the commercial area.
NETWORKING TO CREATE NEW VITALITY
The project’s long north-to-south space, formerly an airstrip, has been turned into a park full of greenery. The spatial characteristics of the former airport have been inherited as the city's backbone, yielding an easily recognizable “axis.”
A subway line runs parallel to and underneath the park, and two stations will serve as hubs connecting the transportation network of the surrounding sites. The neighboring site plans are based on this framework.
The buildings stand in the center and on both sides of the park, with an underground walkway linking them east to west.
It also connects to the subway and underground mall, making comfortable pedestrian mobility possible.
AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SYMBIOTIC ARCHITECTURE THAT HARNESSES THE “POWER OF PLACE”
The entire project has been designed under the theme of skyscrapers in harmony with nature, taking advantage of a location blessed with water and greenery.
The building layout and landscape design ensure the best possible view of the Huangpu River from the two towers’ offices and hotel, along with smooth pedestrian flow at the ground level. The buildings’ operations make maximum use of natural energy.
Façades are characterized by vertical fins that express the towers’ sense of ascent and the expanse of their skirts. A 500mm deep vertical fin installed on one of the buildings effectively blocks direct sunlight on its east and west sides without obstructing the view.
Ventilation openings are also incorporated into the large windows on each office floor, allowing fresh air to flow directly into the rooms.
Energy-saving devices and equipment have been used to realize “green” building merits with low energy loss. The site's landscaping, including the greenery, water features, slopes, and lighting, also responds to the wind and environmental architecture.
The potential of this magnificent site was maximized, and a new public space was created by blending landscape and architecture in a form that integrates the towers directly into the site. This plan is unique to this location; it was only realized through the redevelopment of an existing urban area in the city's heart. Retail and office spaces opened in 2021, with a five-star hotel in operation since March 2023.
The new West Bund area, including this facility, has been primed for fresh urban development and architecture and is now attracting the most advanced industries, such as AI, in place of the once cutting-edge aviation industry. We hope these new buildings will symbolize the city's history and energy for future development and become a home for those drawn to it.