A new waterfront district for China’s silicon valley

29 May 2019
Credit: https://henninglarsen.com/
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen



Henning Larsen win competition for Shenzhen Bay masterplan

Henning Larsen has won the major international competition for the design of Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City, alongside two Chinese firms. The three winners will collaborate on the design for new 5.5m sq m district, set to become the new heart of China’s Silicon Valley. The area is the world’s largest bay economy, home to tech companies including Tecent, Huawe and ZTE. Henning Larsen’s masterplan sought alternatives to the usual features of Chinese urban planning, while setting the standard for a sustainable and livable city.

In China, planning authorities traditionally prioritize vehicular traffic, while Henning Larsen’s design relegates cars to underground roads and parking facilities. The basement levels of the district form a network of retail arcades and sunken plazas, replacing the need for outsized shopping malls above ground. Instead, smaller buildings between the towers create human-scale alleyways and piazzas.

The designers researched the aspirations of young urban dwellers, resulting in the of idea ‘cities within cities’ to satisfy demands for an attractive and varied public realm. The Art City creates a cohesive cultural experience, including venues at the top of the tallest towers to produce a ‘Skyline of Art’. The Shared City offers co-working spaces with access to amenities such as coffee shops, gyms, and shared meeting rooms. Meanwhile, the Forest City is an ambitious plan to plant 10,000 trees to cool the area and reduce pollution.

Overall, the location of the new development offered an opportunity to create a link between city and sea, as the existing business districts of Shenzhen are situated inland. “Our design aims to make Shenzhen the waterfront city it should always have been,” explains Claude Godefroy, Partner and Design Director of Henning Larsen’s Hong Kong office. “To create an attractive waterfront we brought commercial and cultural facilities meters away from the seashore, so citizens will finally be able to enjoy the atmosphere of Shenzhen Bay in an activated urban environment, like in Sydney, Singapore or Copenhagen.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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