Shenzhen Crystal Island by OMA and Urbanus



Dutch architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture and Chinese practice Urbanus have won a competition for a new cultural centre and transport hub in Shenzhen, China.


See all our stories about OMA/Rem Koolhaas in our special category.

Images: Shenzhen Crystal Island © OMA / Ole Scheeren.

Here's some info from OMA:


OMA wins Shenzhen Crystal Island competition

Beijing / Rotterdam, 17 June 2009 – The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), in collaboration with Shenzhen-based architects Urbanus, has been awarded first prize in the design competition for a major new cultural center, transport hub, and public landmark in the heart of the city of Shenzhen, southern China. The design, led by OMA partner Ole Scheeren, was selected from 32 entries by an international jury.


The scheme builds on Shenzhen’s newly acquired status of “City of Design”, awarded by UNESCO in 2008, and proposes for the city’s Crystal Island project the formation of ”Shenzhen Creative Center”: a focal point for the city’s creative industries in front of Shenzhen’s iconic city hall.


Above ground, Shenzhen Creative Center consists of a 20-hectare landscape of parks and gardens, populated by clusters of pavilions and small buildings – “Design Villages” – that form a vibrant micro-urbanism of public activity. The site is encompassed by an elevated pedestrian “Ring Connector”, an urban walkway joining its multiple elements and infrastructures.

Below ground, a system of “Shortcut Connectors” link existing and future train and subway stations and provide access to buses, taxis, shopping areas, city hall, and the Creative Center, while accommodating diverse design-related display and activity zones.

At the heart of these two systems is the “Shenzhen Eye”, a new landmark for the city. Instead of an object, it is a spherical void and symbolic “Space of Imagination” – open, unoccupied, a zone of creativity that concentrates Shenzhen’s energy and vision for the future.

Shenzhen Creative Center introduces a space that fosters urbanity without density and supports aggregation through interconnected activities. Previously dispersed creative industries will be joined through connective infrastructure and cultivated in a landscape of multiplicity, permeability, and openness towards creative activity.

The collaboration of OMA and Urbanus includes Ole Scheeren, Rem Koolhaas and Urbanus partner Meng Yan, together with a team lead by OMA Associates Dongmei Yao and Anu Leinonen.

Posted on Wednesday June 17th 2009 at 5:50 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Bryce


  • Wybie

    all the cool stuff is in China

  • slater

    HA HA Bryce, I was thinking the same thing! Is this a mirrored, sunken dish with pedestrian/vechicular lanes intersecting it? I really have no idea after reading the text…

  • John


  • modular

    Where’s the manual for this?

  • Fatigued


  • tanya telford – T

    from my experience of shenzhen this sounds impressive in terms of making the most of the creativity that already exists and (by the sounds of this plan) focuses this creativity, i think good plan, but here in this article, it gives no details of including green/eco friendly things nor the encouragement of this, i think id like to read also of this information (first hand experience of this area), look forward to visiting again at some point in the future.

  • alan


  • Irish

    this really needs to be explained properly?

  • fk

    very beautiful. its like a more dynamic and integrated anish kapoor sculpture.

  • modular

    O RLY?

  • Ali

    Who cares really?

  • tanya telford – T

    alan – yes really, but i am reading the details of this project and applying the information to my first hand experience & view of the place, to me it does seem to make sense in some ways.

  • hotte

    a real dirt…

  • gray

    seriously. . . ?

  • Hamster

    How do you clean this??

  • tanya telford – T

    actually, ive just re read this, and agree that some aspects etc of this project are not very clear , maybe Alan was right to question my initial view of it/ comment.

  • choadbag

    i like the floating skyscrapers pic,
    more of those plz