The area surrounding the Monkey King Tze temple in central Chengdu is the site of a future multi-use development, financed by a consortium of Swire Properties and Sino Ocean land property companies. The contextual response chosen for the Heritage classified area surrounding the old temple was a collection of small-scale commercial spaces. An array of retail buildings has been organized around new pedestrian streets, each created according to different themes.
The development is on two levels, and the public metro system is linked to the main site by an underground shopping arcade. The design concept is contemporary, although the architectural language respects the Heritage context by relating in scale and materials to the existing. The roofs are pitched with tile covering, and the facades are modulated to recall traditional timber framing. Timber is extensively used to give a tactile quality.
HDA were commissioned to create a series of small but iconic pieces of urban furniture, that will unconsciously give the users a sense of direction. Lightweight canopies have been strung along the site, providing shelter for escalators that link the commercial levels to the metro station, basement shopping arcades and parking areas. Different techniques are used to give variety : some canopies are stabilized with cables to the adjacent building facades, whilst others are tied back to the surrounding concrete openings. Careful attention has been given to detailing of the connections, fritting and timber cladding to the columns.