Architecture Landscape architecture Retail design

PH Alpha Design blends nature and urbanity in new Chongqing mall with massive indoor botanical garden

July 16, 2021

Yorkville- The Ring for Hongkong Land also features a glass dome and facade with innovative modular facade

Hong Kong-headquartered multidisciplinary practice PH Alpha Design (PHA) with offices in London, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, has recently added a new retail project to its portfolio is Hongkong Land’s Yorkville – The Ring in Chongqing. The brand new commercial retail complex encompasses a gross floor area of 420,000m2 of which 170,000m2 is dedicated to the shopping mall, 110,000m2 to the super grade-A office building, and 70,000m2 to the indoor botanical garden.

The Ring, the inaugural project among Hongkong Land’s brand new commercial retail series known as “The Ring”, is designed to present a new intelligent commercial, providing residents with premium lifestyle and shopping experiences. In order to create an “urban + nature” hybrid form of community, PHA ingeniously merges the huge botanical garden into commercial, bringing a nature-infused development to the customers.

The overall master planning of the site maximises visibility and accessibility to the shopfronts, with the retail cluster positioned along the main roads in an L-shape, creating “The Ring”.  An enclosed landscaped commercial street takes its form as The Ring extends and embraces the two Grade-A office towers soaring above and behind. The core of the architectural structure cuts through in an S-curve, setting apart the indoor botanical garden space with the outdoor terraced balconies, which serve as the primary and secondary visual anchors respectively. Two towers form a cluster with adjacent office plots.

Linkage Between Indoor Botanical Garden and Circulation

The biggest highlight of the project is, undoubtedly, Twilight Forest, a large-scale indoor botanical garden, the largest of its kind in Southeast China, with a height of 48 meters spanning seven floors. The design abandons the conventional enclosed inner street atrium and introduces a transparent indoor botanical garden into the mall to create an extraordinary experiential commercial space. The garden brings a panoramic view with vivid colours and incredible scenes. Each scene presents a season combined with gurgling waterfalls and natural scenery is unobstructed.

The incredible design was built upon the designer’s careful research and consideration of how to seamlessly link the green plant space with the retail space. The designer boldly placed it on the side of the active line and integrated the botanical garden with the retail space without blocking the commercial active line, while ensuring the comfortable natural lighting of the two. The botanical garden was designed to harmonise with the commercial circulation horizontally and vertically, creating a multidimensional retail space. In the southeast, the natural theme of the project is displayed to the city through a large area of ​​glass curtain wall.

The botanical garden is not a simple atrium with green plants, but a 48-meter-high dome covered with layers of green plants integrated retail space filled with pop-up style shops in it. Through vigilant planning and space construction, the green of the botanical garden is widely spread and closely linked with commercial circulation. Customers can enjoy shopping while relaxed at all times, thereby reducing the “besieged” sense of oppression and tension brought to consumers by traditional commercial spaces.

 Inner Retail Streets Create a Multidimensional Shopping Experience 

The botanical garden becomes a “Focus Point” that combines the indoor and outdoor commercial streets of the shopping mall. The Ring makes use of the original site’s height difference at the main entrance, and combines with water and greens creating a botanical resting space. The flow corridor set upon it creates a sense of arrival while constructing a moving line establishing a vital link with the office tower and surrounding communities.

Through the idea of landscape retreat and ecology, a “terraced” shape is visually formed, facing the urban roads and concentrated business region, which weakens the pressure of the building volume on the surrounding environment, and strengthens the surrounding environment with vertical greening. 

Usage of Roof Spaces

In the vertical dimension, the roof garden is the key to drive the upward flow of people. The outdoor activity platform beside the theater on the sixth floor is connected upwards with the roof garden, forming a separate aerial activity plaza apart from the roof and entrance. This brings more possibilities for commercial activities to be held in different themes and create a unique shopping experience for the consumers. 

The facade design was also inspired by nature, inspired by the poetic scenery of “wind”, “woods” and “clouds”. The entrance design imitates the scene of the sea of ​​clouds, forming smooth flowing lines and the momentum showing the design’s pursuit of regionality, culture identity and artistry. The entire façade design is romantic and elegant, reflecting the humanistic care for consumers. 

Perceptual expression is based on rational scrutiny. The facade texture uses innovative parametric design logic to deduct standard modulus and realise modular standardisation, creating an artistic and rhythmic beauty.

Project details:

Architect: PH Alpha Design Limited

Client: Hongkong Land Limited

Location: Chongqing, China

Site Area: 62 863 m2

GFA: 421 424 m2

Completion: April 2021

Chief Designer: Dr. Ping Xu

Project Team: Clive Chow, Ryan Tong, Xiuling Hao, Dongdong Qin

Photography: CreatAR / PH Alpha Design Limited

See the full image gallery here:

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