The completion of this mixed-use development marks another chapter in the tale of Raffles City’s expansion in China.
17 January, 2013
The second of Spark’s new-build Raffles City projects (after Beijing) has opened its doors in the eastern Chinese port city of Ningbo.
Singapore-headquartered developer CapitaLand took its Raffles City brand to China in 2000, and now has 8 Raffles City locations there (either completed or under development).
Ningbo is home to China’s second-largest port and an increasingly affluent population. Raffles City Ningbo is located in the Jiangbei district, next to Ningbo’s historical downtown area.
It is intended that the 157,800sqm development – which comprises a mall, a Grade A office tower and serviced residences – will act as a catalyst for further development of the Jiangbei area and the creation of a new downtown district.
Sweeping, waving planes of glass in horizontal layers (reminiscent of rock strata) characterise the development.
Explains Spark’s CEO Stephen Pimbley, “This is not just an architectural device to break up the mass of the building facing the residential tower; it has become something of a leitmotif, tying all aspects of the development together.”
He continues, “In the context of the retail podium, for example, this applied ribbon aesthetic enables each part of the structure to fit seamlessly together. This lends the building a feeling of an almost domestic scale, which is so often lacking in the ubiquitous shopping mall box.”
The need for the development to maximise the potential of its prominent ‘gateway’ site as well as provide a quieter domestic environment led the Spark team to develop a ‘fast civic face’ and a ‘slow domestic face’ for the building.
The residential component sits at the corner of a sunken landscaped courtyard, which helps to moderate the scale of the tower. The noise of the city is intercepted by the mass of the retail podium and a calmer atmosphere is established.
Meanwhile, explains Pimbley, “The animated faces of the retail podium and the office building engage directly with the city and link the older part of Ningbo across the river with the developing quarter, anchored by Raffles City.”
The retail podium has been awarded a Green Mark Gold Badge by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority.
Led by Spark, the design team included collaborating local architect Ningbo Architecture Design Institute.
Photos by Fernando Guerra.
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