Director of Design
SOHO China, Beijing
von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Architects, Beijing
The former French Concession in the heart of Shanghai is known for its typical rectilinear development – the li long. Li stands for neighborhood, and long refers to the narrow rectilinear streets separating the buildings. This urban morphology, typical of Shanghai, creates narrow and intimate urban spaces.
The design for SOHO Fuxing Plaza, an urban quarter with restaurants, shops and offices primarily intended for young start-up companies, adopts the scale and orientation of the neighboring blocks, integrates existing historic buildings and, in this way, adds to the important urban seam in the inner city using the existing urban development structure.
The ensemble consists of nine oblong building blocks with sloping roofs and an east-west orientation, and a high-rise building that provides a more general reference to the urban landscape. Within the confines of this precinct, a network of pathways and small alleys converges at a central square with restaurants. The façades and roofs have been clad with light natural stone strips of different widths. The dark grey metal elements of the glass façades provide a contrast to these strips.