OCT OH BAY Retail Park / Laguarda.Low Architects
Text description provided by the architects. Honoring Shenzhen’s history as a regional market town, the master plan for Bao’an OCT OH BAY breathes new energy into China’s first economic zone. Laguarda.Low Architects’ concept for the 128-acre park is a representation of growth, joining commerce with world-class cultural facilities. Located along with a three-quarter-mile waterfront site, the program features four primary zones — East and West Waterfront Retail Park; Urban Business Center; and Waterfront Cultural Park. Woven throughout this collective of mixed-uses is an ecological blanket – a flowing natural landscape that envelopes the site, connecting the zones via pedestrian paths.
The West Waterfront Retail Park includes entertainment venues, leisure facilities, and a performing arts center all emanating from an expansive open-air plaza. Water serves as a key element of the scheme, separating various aquatic activities while allowing the public to explore the waterfront by boat. On the East bank, a four-story experiential retail park is linked by gently sloping ramps, escalators, and bridges layered beneath an expansive green roof ribbon. The traditional shopping experience is transformed with an abundance of natural light and choreographed circulation.
An urban business center composed of terraced office buildings and hotel, serves as a backdrop to the harbor, with green roofs set to collect rainwater and limit solar heat gain. With 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use expansion in the heart of Bao’an, OCT OH BAY sets a precedent for future development in Shenzhen. The streamlined, curvilinear nature of the project and public gathering space are unifying themes, melding the needs of a commercially viable program and burgeoning cultural district at an extraordinary scale.
EAST WATERFRONT RETAIL PARK. The 35,000 m2 RETAIL PARK consists of multiple pebble-shaped three-story volumes arranged organically along an elaborate waterfront park, facing south. These organic forms harmonize with nature on one side while multiple penetrations along the north side address the urban context. The porous nature of the project naturally draws visitors from the waterfront into the open-air retail environment, integrating shopping, food, and beverage venues seamlessly with nature.
The second and third floor volumes are stacked slightly off-kilter, shifting, and tilting as they rise above the ground plane. This movement creates sheltering overhangs dynamic terraces with breathtaking views beyond the waterfront park to the ocean. The boundary between building and nature, commercial space, and parkland, is completely blurred, allowing for unprecedented integration of retail development and a natural landscape. The shifting volumes and extensive green roofs funnel breezes throughout the site and provide shade and respite from the sometimes harsh summer heat.
Two landscaped gentle pedestrian ramps rise from either end of the project, east, and west, to create three-dimensional paths for visitors from the public park to every level of the commercial zone including the green roof garden. This vertical pedestrian access conjoins gentle ramps, stairs, and rest zones with trees, flowers, and art installations.
Located in the center of the lower-level retail is a 50-meter-wide sunken plaza. This celebration space will accommodate diverse events, exhibitions, and impromptu social gatherings. It is the culmination point for public access from the subway station in the northeast and the gateway to the waterfront park through a cascading water garden. Gently undulated green roofs, as mentioned above, tie all volumes of the development together, creating a unique setting adjacent to and above the waterfront park. From these roofs, visitors have spectacular views of the ocean beyond. The roof garden terrain has a diverse landscape that includes a flower garden, a cascading sculpture garden, an outdoor performance terrace, and an undulating running trail. The undulating running trail floats above the retail circulation and gives exercise enthusiasts a thrilling experience with 360-degree views from the ocean to the city and beyond.
SUSTAINABILITY. The ecological green belt that runs through the retail blocks on the east and west banks introduces water features and green plants into the commercial space, the landscape and the architecture are naturally integrated. Along with awnings, green balconies, and ecological roofs to form air ducts and cold lanes, which greatly reduces the urban heat island effect. The retail streets maximize natural lighting through skylights and patios and use solar systems to continuously obtain energy. The orientation of the buildings caters to the demand for natural ventilation. The streamlined shape and vertical patio are designed to enhance wind pressure and thermal pressure ventilation. High ceilings, openable windows, and high-energy low-speed fans are used to optimize indoor air circulation.
URBAN BUSINESS CENTER. The urban business center is located across the road from the north side of the East Waterfront Retail Park. It provides convenient and diverse access from all directions of the project. The complex connects the subway station on one end, and to the retail park on the other end, as well as connecting with several major urban roads in the central area of Bao’an district.
The Urban Business Center consists of four office towers with ocean views, three ecological corporate headquarters, one commercial building, and one hotel. The stepped-back terraces provide an open view for visitors to enjoy the full-dimensional landscape of the waterfront park and the beautiful bay scenery. The sky garden and the unique vertical green wall create a healthy and ecological office experience and meet the LEED-ND gold pre-certification standard. OCT OH BAY is a new, exciting hub that seamlessly links nature and urban life in an imaginative, exhilarating way along a spectacular waterfront in the district of Bao’an, in the city of Shenzhen.
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