Beijing Plot 656 is a new mixed use complex of Commercial and Office towers. It is located in the West of Beijing Metropolitan area where it is a gateway for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. The commercial components are located in the center and the basement level of this development.
At the basement level, the sunken courtyard is located along the East side of the development. The monotonic long stretch of sunken court is located in between the shopfront of restaurants and the retaining wall along the above street. The sunken court is also interrupted by five pedestrian bridges that connect from street level as well as from adjacent developments. With these conditions, the entire space is separated spatially by lighted and shaded conditions. In order to create a better experience for commercial function at the basement level, landscape design intervention must provide a better accessibility and a warm welcoming experience that could rejuvenate the monotonic space at the sunken level.
There are five courtyards with four accesses, from the fire exit staircases and the escalators, as required by local regulation. In order to create a better accessibility, the fire staircases were modified to split the entry at street level into both sides of each bridge that is adjacent to them. These new access points would directly connect to the main lobby of each tower in order to provide easy connection to the commercial level. These staircases were also designed as landscape terrains combined with softscape and hardscape. These landscape terrains provide the leading direction for people to walk directly to the shopfront areas. Then the landscape pathway at basement level will unified the entire circulation system by connecting all access points together. With this direct connection and directional guidance through landscape intervention, the vertical and horizontal circulation are established to strengthen the commercial experience.
The landscape dioramas of each court acts as a miniature of nature that enhance the experience of each shop along the entire commercial facade. They provide visual pleasure to the viewers with different points of view along the long corridor. The physical and visual connections from the street level to the commercial level are very crucial for the users' experience. Therefore, different landscape characters that could provide the physical and visual impact - from mountain, plateau, and cave - were designed to fit with physical conditions of the development. These natural features are re-interpreted with the simple gesture of horizontal lines that would bring the sense of calmness and provide horizontal visual connection throughout the stretch of the sunken courtyard.
Seatings are designed to be integrated with the overall landscape terrains. These terrains are vertical and horizontal undulated. They not only create a directional guidance to the shops, but also create a change of scenery as people move along the landscape. The terrains also help to block down the cold wind in order to create pocket spaces that are more comfortable for seating during winter. Each landscape diorama is designed with different planting designs which would change their appearances throughout different seasons. These courtyards become a main figure in the landscape as they are exposed to natural light. In contrast, the cave landscape - the alternated areas under the link bridges - will become the dynamic transitional spaces that connect every landscape courtyards together. Different water features - from static horizon to dynamic verizon - were introduced to create different effects. The reflecting ponds are located under the largest link bridges in order to diminish the experience of dark, clutter, underground feeling by bringing natural light and reflection of the garden into the spaces. The reflective ceiling design combined with sculptural features provides a surreal effect that amplifies the immersive visual experience.
The rain curtain feature provides a vertical movement and delightful sound of water that could refresh the entire space. At the center court, the main event space is designed to be flexible for different functions. The feature wall becomes a celebration for the main entrance of the shopping atrium. This feature provides a glimpse of a welcoming landscape at the sunken courtyard for all visitors from the interior of the shopping mall.
Landscape as natural Diorama creates the united spatial landscape structure that enhances visitors' experience by creating surreal landscape features for commercial courtyards. The new landscape terrains were introduced as part of steps and planters that allow for easy access from street level to the commercial functions at basement level. Each sunken court represents the modern interpretation of nature, from mountains to caves, by converting the physical constraints of the development to create a unique design advantage that generates special features for each court. Each court yard acts as a part of landscape scenes that could be viewed separately or be viewed with the larger landscape whole. Experience in the landscape diorama could be experienced in the level of framed static view from each shop as well as could be enjoyed by moving along in the unified landscape tapestry.
Project name:China Shipping Beijing Jinan Huanyuhui Plot 656
Company name:Landscape Collaboration.,Ltd. (LCO)
Lead Architects:Somkiet (Boyd) Chokvijitkul
Design Team:Pavin Banternghansa, Napat Wiwatthanawararom, Suravit Phetchabun, Nopnara Katekaewmaneeratana, Nattaporn Sakonat, Simon Lin
Building area (m²):19,490m2
Clients:China Overseas Property
Local Landscape (LDI):BaoJiafeng (BJF)
Architectural Design Company: Yihe Architectural Design and Research Center of the China Architecture Design Institute Co.,Ltd.
Construction Unit: Shanghai Jialai Landscape Engineering Co.,Ltd.
Photo credits:Luan Qi