A master plan by Goettsch Partners (GP) has been selected as the winning scheme in the design competition for a prominent site in the new Pazhou district in Guangzhou, China. The Pazhou Masterplan will consist of three urban parcels that form a triangular site, which is planned for seven buildings totaling 428,000 square meters. The client and developer is Poly Real Estate (Group) Co., Ltd., China’s leading state-owned real estate company.
The winning master plan establishes a framework for the three-parcel site as a vibrant and iconic commercial destination that merges the new riverfront with the larger urban fabric. A nautilus-like spiral defines the organizing concept for the complex, with its physical center providing a direct visual link to the city’s historic pagoda. The centerpiece of the development is a large public piazza, which helps unify the three urban parcels while clearly segregating pedestrian and vehicular activity. Sustainable design initiatives start with a series of elevated bridges that provide unobstructed breezeways and shade for the ground level. These bridges also house indoor social spaces linking the towers and are topped with habitable garden spaces that minimize the urban heat-island effect.
A landmark tower at the northeast corner of the site is positioned for maximum visibility and presence, creating a presence in the skyline. The six other buildings encircle the piazza and are designed with podium-level retail and dining venues that activate the public spaces. Sky bridges between buildings define the perimeter of the piazza and link the complex, while maximizing views to the riverfront and adjacent canal. These elevated structures also form gateways that lend an overall permeability to the complex.
In the piazza, a terraced court rises from the site’s lower-level pedestrian access, passing beneath the development’s main connecting roadway. Lined with retail and restaurants, this court features a series of distinct landscaped amenities and terminates at a jewel-like exhibition facility, intended to be an educational and cultural venue. This entire network of pedestrian pathways also has a direct link to the area’s subway lines, providing convenient and intuitive access to the development.
The three urban plots each includes a mix of commercial functions. Parcel 4 features the landmark office and hotel tower, as well as a separate serviced apartment tower; the two are organized in a semicircular arrangement fronting the main piazza. Parcel 5 comprises of three office towers triangulated on the development’s southernmost portion and configured around a secondary public plaza. Parcel 10 includes an office tower and a hotel, aligned along the adjacent canal. While each building will have its own unique identity, collectively, the buildings will form an ascending spiral, defining a singular urban gesture for the complex.