Building12 is a standalone retail mall nestled in the heart of the massive Qplex commercial development in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Encircled by a ring of eleven residential, hotel and towers, Building12 is the natural philosophical center and pulse of the entire development. The design intent places a heavy emphasis on establishing Building12 as a communal center, not just for the Qplex development but also for the number of residential communities around it
To do that, Building12 needs to be more than just another shopping mall. The design process began with the task of reimagining a commercially focused building typology into one that is also community driven. The idea of a public park serves as the starting premise because of its natural platform as a community node. A park also offers an opportunity to project a powerful visual image on an urban scale, while simultaneously encouraging users to discover their individual and unique relationships with it.
Activity spaces are weaved into the development across multiple levels. Public plazas and roof gardens are carefully curated based on environmental conditions, spatial qualities and locations to maximize realistic usability. Timbered and turfed roofs blend into one another, creating multiple entries into the mall across various “ground levels”. This allows Building12 to become a rich canvas of overlapping thresholds where the mall IS the park and the park IS the mall.
With the accelerated pace of architecture projects today, it’s easy to be pulled into the rabbit hole of statistics, efficiencies and a two-dimensional pursuit of energy sustainability as the single solution for architectural design. This often results in a diminished emphasis on human and social sustainability issues.
The design of Building12 maintains a deep regard for the user community at its core, giving it a higher chance of successfully generating functional longevity and adaptability over its lifetime. Compared to a typical shopping mall, Building12 is seeing a bigger diversity of users, spending greater amounts of time and engaging in a wider range of activities. It is the hope that Building 12 will be able to weave contending commercial and communal concerns together in a mutually enabling and socially sustainable environment.