Chengdu, China, 2007-2012

PROGRAM: five towers with offices, serviced apartments, retail, a hotel, cafes, and restaurants
CLIENT: CapitaLand Development
STATUS: construction phase

The ‘Sliced Porosity Block’ will be located just south of the intersection of the First Ring Road and Ren Min Nan Road. Its sun sliced geometry results from minimum daylight exposures to the surrounding urban fabric prescribed by code. Porous and inviting from every side, five vertical entrances cut through a layer of micro-urban shopping before leading to the elevated public ‘Three Valley’ plaza. A great urban terrace on the scale of Rockefeller Center, this multi-level plaza in the center of the complex is sculpted by stone steps, ramps, trees, and ponds and caters to special events or to a casual afternoon in the sun. Here the public space parallax of overlapping geometries in strict black and white is supercharged by color that glows from the shops positioned underneath the plaza.

The three generous ponds on the plaza are inspired by a poem by Du Fu (713-770), in which he describes how ‘Time has left stranded in Three Valleys’. (Du Fu was one of ancient China’s most important poets, who spent a part of his life in Chengdu). These three ponds function as skylights to the six-story shopping precinct below. Residing on voids in the facades of the sculpted blocks three pavilions are designed by Steven Holl (history pavilion), Lebbeus Woods (high tech pavilion), and Ai Wei Wei (Du Fu pavilion).

The ‘Sliced Porosity Block’ is heated and cooled geo-thermally and the large plaza ponds harvest recycled rainwater while the natural grasses and lily pads create a natural cooling effect. High-performance glazing, energy-efficient equipment and the use of regional materials are just a few of the other methods employed to reach the LEED gold rating.


– Steven Holl Architects
Steven Holl, Li Hu (design architect)
Roberto Bannura (associate in charge)
Lan Wu (project architect, Beijing)
Haiko Cornelissen, Peter Englaender, JongSeo Lee (project architect, New York)
Christiane Deptolla, Inge Goudsmit, Jackie Luk, Maki Matsubayashi, Sarah Nichols, Manta Weihermann, Martin Zimmerli (project designer)
Justin Allen, Jason Anderson, Francesco Bartolozzi, Guanlan Cao, Yimei Chan, Sofie Holm Christensen, Esin Erez, Ayat Fadaifard, Mingcheng Fu, Forrest Fulton, Runar Halldorsson, M. Emran Hossain, Joseph Kan, Suping Li, Tz-Li Lin, Yan Liu, Daijiro Nakayama, Pietro Peyron, Roberto Requejo, Elena Rojas-Danielsen, Michael Rusch, Ida Sze, Filipe Taboada, Ebbie Wisecarver, Human Tieliu Wu, Jin-Ling Yu (project team)

associate architects
– China Academy of Building Research
Hong Jin, Wang Zhenming, Lu Yan (project team)

MEP and fire engineer
– Ove Arup & Partners

LEED consultant
– Ove Arup & Partners

structural engineer
– China Academy of Building Research
Liu Junjin, Zhu Huosheng (senior engineer)

quantity surveyor
– Davis Langdon & Seah (DLS)
Hu Ping, Sun Ying (deputy manager)

traffic consultant
Michael Chiu (director)
Kent Liang (project manager)
– MVA Hong Kong ltd


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