UNStudio to design
Yongjia World Trade Centre

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News: Dutch office UNStudio has won a competition to design a world trade centre in the growing city of Wenzhou, China, with proposals for a family of segmented skyscrapers.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio

Occupying an eleven-hectare site near Wenzhou's riverfront, the Yongjia World Trade Centre will add to the growing number of international trade centres in China - currently standing at 26 - but will also create a mix of retail, leisure and residential uses in a district presently dominated by offices.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio

UNStudio's design concept is for a collection of "precious objects on a tray", comprising five towers rising up from a podium with a landscaped roof. "The continuous podium landscape occupies the entire site and serves as a tray-like, green plain for the towers," says the studio.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio

The two tallest towers, including one with a height of 287 metres, will be positioned to the north of the site and will house the World Trade Centre operations. Apartments will occupy the uppermost floors, while the three towers to the south will accommodate a mix of residential, shops, offices and a hotel.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Model photograph

A series of overlapping frames will give a segmented form to the elevations of each tower, intended to break down the scale and outline different communities. Where these frames overlap, the architects will create gardens and meeting areas for both offices and apartments.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Design concept - click for larger image

The surrounding gardens and terraces will unite the buildings, creating a publicly accessibly green route from the buildings to the river.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Landscape diagram - click for larger image

UNStudio recently announced its relaunch as an "open-source architecture studio" inspired by technology start-ups. Find our more in our interview with studio principal Ben van Berkel.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Use diagram - click for larger image and key

The studio is also working on several skyscraper proposals, including a residential tower for London and a cactus-shaped skyscraper for Singapore. See more design by UNStudio »

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Sky garden concept diagram - click for larger image

Visualisations by Moka.

Here's a project description from the studio:


Yongjia World Trade Center, Wenzhou, China, 2013

The Yongjia World Trade Centre will create a new image for the WTC brand and will become a unique symbol for the new riverside city of Wenzhou. Wenzhou city lies in the dense economic zone along the coast of southeast China, next to the Yangtze River Delta region. The deep water sea port outside of Wenzhou and the inland channel to the sea expands the city's access advantages for international and domestic markets.

The World Trade Center is located in the Oubei Sanjiang Area which has the highest development potential in Wenzhou. According to the masterplan, the Oubei Sanjiang Area in Yongjia is positioned as an integrated functional area with, among others, business, modern residence, tourism service, leisure and entertainment functions rolled into one.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Atrium locations

The functional shift of the WTC area, from a business and financial district to a mixed-use development which includes cultural and recreational facilities and a high percentage of residential properties, will create a forward-looking and sustainable city district that has all the components needed to support economic growth whilst propelling social connectivity and local identity.

UNStudio's competition design proposed 5 towers ranging from 287m for the main tower to 146m for the smallest tower. The office towers, including the World Trade Centre offices, are situated in the north area of the development. High end residential apartments are located on the upper levels of these towers, with residences that enjoy the best 360 degree views overlooking the whole peninsula. The programme mix of office and residential ensures an intertwining of functions and activation throughout the day and night. In the south part of the development residential towers and a hotel tower are located. In accordance with the competition brief the total above ground area adds up to 500,000 sqm, including shopping and commercial areas of 150,000 sqm, office areas of 160,000 sqm, hotel area of 50,000 sqm and a high-rise condominium are of 140,000 sqm.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Facade concept diagrams - click for larger image

UNStudio's design for the new World Trade Centre presents a green neighbourhood in the sky which is combined with three main elements:
» Trade and business
» Diverse programme mix
» Accessible public landscape

The notion of precious objects on a tray drives the main design concept, where the continuous podium landscape occupies the entire site and serves as a tray-like, green plain for the towers. The harmonious composition of the towers affords a unique image of the development from all different views. The composition will interweave with its surroundings, yet will remain recognisable as family of objects.

On the tower scale 'frames' underline the concept of neighbourhoods in the sky which create unique locations with distinct identities. Where these frames overlap the so-called 'Eyes' are located. These are commonly used spaces such as sky gardens and lounges for use by residents, or social gathering places for office areas that afford the best views towards the river and Wenzhou city centre. Both the frames and the 'eyes' enhance the character of this future city symbol.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Tower sections - click for larger image

The landscape is the unifying element in the overall design, providing the display element for the tower objects. It is in large parts publically accessible and establishes a continuous green connection that links through the central green axis to the riverfront area.

The competition design proposes zoning by differently themed areas embedded into the landscape that are related to cultural and entertainment functions. At the central water stream and on the lower podium level the landscape has a lively character with various functions. In contrast, the top of the roof enjoys a more private character. This zoning creates diverse green areas that can satisfy the different needs of residents, visitors and business people alike.

Yongjia World Trade Centre Wenzhou by UNStudio
Concept diagram by Ben van Berkel

Client: Shanghai World Trade (Shanghai) Holdings Group
Location: Wenzhou, China
Building surface: 500.000 m² above ground
Building site: 4 plots total 154,900 m2, the developable area is 111,237 m2
Programme: Towers with Offices, Residential and Hotel, Podium with Retail and cultural functions
Status: Competition 1st prize

Credits: Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber with Hannes Pfau, Ger Gijzen, Juliane Maier, Martin Zangerl and Sontaya Bluangtook, Amanda Chan, Albert Gnodde, Jan Kokol, Patrik Noome, Mo Lai, Jan Rehders, René Rijkers, Stefano Rocchetti, Shuang Zhang

Landscape consultant: Loos van Vliet
Structure consultant: ARUP Shanghai
Sustainabilty consultant: ARUP Hong Kong

  • Allan

    I like the feeling although it may seem a bit too formalistic.

    • christine

      What’s the problem with form? Can we get over this old debate for fresh graduates? Mies was a formalist, Corbusier was a formalist and Zumthor is super formalist. Architects are formalists. Let’s stop being hypocrites for a minute.

  • chinaimport

    Ben van Berkel really is an artist….he sketches like a child.

  • wiil m

    This style seems a bit out of date.

  • dd

    So ugly.