18/05/2016: International award for gmp building in Shanghai

“Bund Soho” high-rise ensemble is “China’s Best Tall Building Overall” in 2016

Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Stephan Rewolle
Project leader, competition Su Jun
Team, competition Gao Bo, Zhang Jing
Project leader, implementation Matthias Wiegelmann, Bao Wei
Team, implementation Anne Bulanda-Jansen, Dong Shuying, Andreas Goetze, Guo Fu Hui, Peter Jänichen, Li Ling, Sebastian Linack, Mulyanto Mulyanto, Su Jun, Tian Xueli, Wang Mi, Xiao Wenda, Xie Fang, Xu Dong, Zhou Bin, Catharina Cragg, Kerstin Baur, Dai Tian Xing, Shi Xiayao, Wang Yu, Zhang Jing, Zheng Xinghui, Zhou Xuefeng
Partner office ECADI
Client SOHO China
GFA 189,500m²

The prestigious prize by the “China International Exchange Committee for Tall Buildings” and the “Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat” was awarded in Shanghai on 13 May. Stephan Rewolle, Associated Partner at gmp, was on site to receive the “CITAB-CTBUH China Tall Building Award” for the building completed last year to a design by Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz, with Stephan Rewolle.

The selection made by the jury with its prominent judges was unequivocal. In the explanatory statement, the judges emphasized the careful attention paid to the context of the building in its exposed urban position in the center of Shanghai, and the thorough and coherent detailing.

In its choice of material and structuring, the “Bund Soho” resonates with Shanghai’s characteristic skyline of bank and commercial buildings from the colonial era, which determine the image of the city at the Bund, Shanghai’s famous promenade at the Huangpu River bank. In accordance with the unwritten rules of the place, the design recounts, in a certain way, the history of the place and creates a succinct end point to the row of buildings, in particular at the seam between the colonial town and the historic city center with its Gucheng Park and Yu Garden open areas.

The ensemble comprises six buildings, which together create a composition of slabs combined in a sculptural, three-dimensional way with projections and recesses. This effect is achieved with a graded system of tapering lesenes which merge into the solid wall panels of the recessed stories and, in this way, seen from a distance, complete the image of the slabs – a directional system with façades of different characters which unifies the different scales of the neighborhood.

The four high-rise office buildings ranging between 60 and 135 meters in height form a distinct edge to the development towards the south and, on the other hand, replicate the sequence of gables of the historic promenade facing the Bund. Two further low-rise buildings to the west and north which, like the lower stories of the office buildings, accommodate high-quality international restaurants and retail outlets, create a transition to the scale of the neighboring buildings. Between them several small lanes and squares provide openings to a closely networked urban environment that continues the pattern of pathways that, traditionally, were orientated towards the river. The design concept of the slabs is replicated here in a ribbon structure and is repeated in the details of the foyers.

As visitors move about, the Soho Bund development appears as a holistically designed, lively ensemble, which changes dynamically with the changing angles of view. As one approaches the development along the promenade or the Huangpu River, it appears to merge into one solid architectural sculpture before, when getting closer, a surprising, almost immaterial glazed feature appears in the front elevation. Compared to the numerous individual new buildings of recent times, the Soho Bund makes a significant contextual contribution to Shanghai’s cityscape.

Christian Gahl

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