All photographs courtesy of Laurian Ghinitoiu
In 2013, it was announced that British firms Heatherwick Studio and Foster + Partners would collaborate on the ‘Bund Finance Centre’ — a mixed-use destination in Shanghai. The 420,000 square meter development includes two 180-meter-high landmark towers, and combines premium ‘Grade A’ offices with a boutique hotel, and an arts and cultural centre. A wide variety of luxury retail spaces are also included, arranged around a generously landscaped public plaza. After four years of development, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has now shared images of the project in its realised state.
‘Sitting at the gateway to Shanghai’s old town, on the river bank where boats would arrive from the rest of the world, this is an extraordinary site which stood unoccupied for many years,’ said Thomas Heatherwick when the project was first announced. ‘In filling this last empty site on Shanghai’s famous bund, the concept is inspired by China’s ambition not to duplicate what exists in the rest of the world but to look instead for new ways to connect with China’s phenomenal architectural and landscape heritage.’
Occupying a prominent site on the bund, the buildings define the ‘end point’ of Shanghai’s most famous street. Heatherwick Studio and Foster + Partners’ masterplan for the ‘bund finance centre’ is highly permeable for pedestrians, with the design conceived as a point of connection between the old town, the bund, and the new financial district. Influenced by this urban context, the two landmark towers are placed at the south of the site, while the buildings facing the waterfront are staggered in height and relate in scale and rhythm to the neighbouring 19th century landmarks.
At the heart of the scheme is a flexible arts and cultural centre, which combines exhibition and event halls with a performance venue, inspired by the open stages of traditional Chinese theatres. The centre is conceived as a platform for international arts and cultural exchange, as well as a place for brand events, product launches and corporate functions. The building is encircled by a moving veil, which adapts to the changing use of the building and reveals the stage on the balcony as well as views towards Pudong.