Nestled in the mountainous province of Hebei, China, The Chengde Tianshan Retail Center is a new take on the contemporary shopping experience. Inspired by folkloric tales of the ancient Chinese dragon and classical feng shui philosophy, the buildings contemporary form offers visitors a unique merger between design and traditional values.
Maximization of the sites unique parameters were main drivers for the mixed-use center’s design. With little, to no visibility from the main street the exceptionally challenging site required a form which could take full advantage of the sites latent positioning while at the same time offering maximal floor area for the various programs housed inside. The resulting architectural form is created as a response to these demands. The retail center is designed to “wrap” around the sites restricted perimeter, offering both unique interior and exterior shopping/civic spaces while also serving as a visual reference point to the city and its inhabitants.
Upon first glance, the landmark captures its audience from a distance. Through the site’s narrow entry way, the structure’s prominent feature – a cantilevered rectangular element – soars 20+ meters above ground level, offering visitors a first glimpse of the buildings distinctive architectural form. At the entry’s apex, the building touches down, forming an intersection between architecture and landscape. Following the site topographic contours the space is transformed into a civic plaza forming an event space for sitting, eating, resting and performing.
Beyond the centers entry plaza a pathway is revealed. The centers commercial street is lined with translucent glass and steel panels, forming a distinctive connection between interior and exterior space. Hues of red and gold reflect off the centers open-air-street as visitors gaze upon each other from inside and out. At the streets termination, a courtyard emerges offering visitors a full 360 degree submersive experience. Inside, various programs line the structures curved enclosure including retail shops, restaurants, cinema, KTV and hotel.