MVRDV’s design Shenzhen Terraces for the client Shimao Group has been selected as one of two finalists from 27 international design firms. Located in Universiade New Town, Longgang District, Shenzhen, the 101,300-square-metre proposal for the Shimao ShenKong International Centre includes more than 20 programs, including a small gallery, library, and outdoor theatre. Once completed, the project will form the core of the thriving neighbourhood, acting as a new urban living room.
Shenzhen Terraces is MVRDV’s proposal for the Universiade new town urban living room. It aims to bring vitality and innovation to the area, through a seamless integration of landscape, leisure, commerce, and culture. Located in the heart of the Longgang district and adjacent to some of its key sports and educational facilities, the site is ideally located to become a defining public space within the region.
The central concept of Shenzhen Terraces is to merge the existing landscape with the new development by using a language of stacked plateaus. These predominantly horizontal elements create a vivid contrast with the surrounding verticality and bring about a sense of calm and tranquility through their slow curving forms. Through a series of modifications, the terraces are adapted to serve a diversity of functions: large overhangs shield the visitors from the hot sun, while offering places to sit and enjoy the view. The edges of the terraces dip at strategic points to form connections between the various floors and to double as small outdoor auditoriums. In other places, the facades are pushed inwards to emphasize entrances and create recognizable places within the scheme to help visitors orient themselves. Finally, bridging elements are introduced that knit Shenzhen’s newest urban living room into its surroundings, making it one with the city and offering access for all.
“The design not only provides an opportunity for Universiade New Town to become a cultural destination, but also offers a new typology for public space. This experimental urban design is valuable for academic research in Longgang District and Shenzhen,” the jury states. “With the appropriate proportion of green space and plants, optimized material and structure form, the Shenzhen Terrace will develop into an ‘urban garden’ on a human scale.”