The Dazhongli project, in the heart of traditional Shanghai, is a mixed-use development comprising hotels, office towers and a shopping mall. The project is a joint venture between Hong Kong companies Swire Properties Ltd and Hong Kong Resorts Ltd, with Wong & Ouyang as executive architects.
The external façade receives an eclectic stone cladding, in response to the traditional urban fabric of the area. Inside the perimeter, state-of-the-art towers and a shopping center rise up. The design principle is that, within this eclectic shell, contemporary elements make use of the same traditional materials but work them in new ways and to modern standards.
HDA were appointed to assist in the development of key new symbols for the office building and the shopping mall, including facade and canopies to the principal entrance lobby, footbridges linking between occupancy blocks, and the main skylight to the shopping mall.
The main skylight roof is a gridshell of steel profiles, underslung by a light-diffusing system of louvres. The plan shape of the skylight is a free-form curve, inspired by the curved building forms of the adjacent blocks. In order to maintain buildable geometries for the glass and steel components, HDA developed the gridshell and louvre volumes as a series of transversal bands, using a parametric script routine. The louvers take the form of steel blades whose number is constant, but whose depth and spacing varies, to provide a soft undulating shape that efficiently modulates both diurnal and nocturnal lighting.