UNStudio's design for the mixed-use Raffles City development is located near the Qiangtan River in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, located 180 kilometers southwest of Shanghai. With a city population of 1.69 million, Hangzhou is one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China and is well known for its beautiful natural scenery, particularly in the West Lake area.
Raffles City Hangzhou is due for realization in 2012.
UNStudio's Raffles City in Hangzhou will be CapitaLand's sixth Raffles City, following those in Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Bahrain. UNStudio's Raffles City Hangzhou incorporates retail, offices, housing and hotel facilities and marks the site of a cultural landscape within the Quianjiang New Town Area.
According to Ben van Berkel, "The philosophy behind the Raffles City concept is to integrate mixed use in an urban context, but in such a way as to give this concept a twist; by focusing on where the urban context meets the landscape of the city. In the design of the towers the urban element of the project twists towards the landscape, whilst the landscape aspect, in turn, twists towards the urban context, thereby effecting the incorporation and consolidation of these separate elements in one formal gesture."
Raffles City Hangzhou is due for realisation in 2012. After four years of planning and construction, it will reach a height of 60 stories, presenting views both to and from the Qiantang River and West Lake areas. Raffles City Hangzhou will provide a total floor area of almost 300,000 m².
In the chain of events and attractions of Hangzhou, like the West Lake area and the commercial center, the Raffles City project will be at the core of the Qianjiang New Town area and contribute to the recognition of this area as a new destination in the city.
Ben van Berkel says of the project, "I believe it will have a sizable impact, as it is a project with a very strong identity and an individual character, which means it will become a place to which people would like to return. It is a project which communicates both with the architecture and within the context of Hangzhou as a city, for this reason we believe it will be a very unique building in China."
Sustainable design principles
An inclusive approach to sustainability is an important part of UNStudio's design philosophy. In the Raffles City project UNStudio seeks to receive the gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building rating system, the industry standard for rating of the eco-friendliness of buildings.
The incorporation of natural ventilation principles and the ways in which materials are employed, all work in concordance with one another to lower the energy and material demands of the building. Urban sustainability is also an important consideration in the design. The programme mix creates a dynamic, continuous 24/7 cycle of activity, a hub for business conduct, a new destination for visitors and residents alike and will become an all-in-one destination for working, living, leisure and entertainment.