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Mecanoo designs 12 skyscrapers for new business district in Shenzhen

Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo has won a competition to masterplan a commercial district in Shenzhen, China, with its design for 12 stepped skyscrapers built around a park featuring a raised path and pools.

Mecanoo's masterplan will see the development of 1.36 million square metres of commercial facilities integrated with Shenzhen North Station, which includes one of the city's regional railway stations and a metro station.

The Shenzhen North Station business district will comprise offices, retail space, apartments and a hotel in the 12 skyscrapers, all covered in a smart facade system of angled glazing that will respond to orientation.

The towers will range in height, varying from 278 to 428 metres, but each feature a similar shape that tapers towards the top to maintain views and daylight between them. The narrowing shape will be formed by a series of stepped levels, where the architects plan to place roof gardens.

"The towers are conceived within a system of equal setbacks so that the top two-thirds have a smaller footprint than the bottom thirds," said Mecanoo. "The result is an ensemble of towers that respond to each other's shape, allowing open views and daylight optimisation."

The firm intends the shapes to complement the different functions of the scheme. Hotels will be accommodated in the upper levels, whereas the wider, lower floors will house functions that require larger areas, like department stores and open-plan offices.

As well as providing commercial facilities, Mecanoo's proposal includes an "urban park" built above the underground transportation nodes, featuring grassy areas, trees and pools.

"The proposal aims to create a strong identity for the neighbourhood," said the firm. "By situating the transportation nodes on the subterranean levels, the public park appears as an open green space, something the area currently lacks."

"Water features give the urban park a special character, offering cool places where people can relax, meet, and engage in leisure activities," it added.

An elevated pathway will weave between the green spaces to connect the towers, while ramps and overpasses will lead to the railway and metro station.

Shenzhen North Station business district is one of a series of commericial areas being built in the city around metro stations. In 2014, architecture firm Farrells won a competition to masterplan another two around the Qianhaiwan metro station.

Founded in Delft in 1984, Mecanoo is lead by Francine Houben, Dick van Gameren, Friso van der Steen and Peter Haasbroek.

Among the studio's recent proposals are plans to completely transform unused railways across Milan. It is also working on the renovation of New York Public Library.

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