Dezeen Magazine

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.