A campus-like park of concrete offices topped with green roofs forms the new Vanke Design Community in Shenzhen, featuring two sunken plots completed by architecture practice FCHA.
Located in a green corridor of the Dashahe Innovation Zone, the masterplan for the new design community was developed by Urbanus, who collaborated with several firms on structures for the site owned by developer Vanke.
FCHA’s two plots are located along the eastern side of the site, and provide offices, exhibition and conference spaces, a lecture hall and a workshop. Its design has been longlisted for a 2019 Dezeen Award.
Sitting on a gently sloping site, the structures aim to balance the desire for green, park-like spaces at ground level above, and well-lit workspaces beneath.
The design means users can work below ground level “without really thinking you are underground” said FCHA.
“Under the guidance of the landscape and urban design, the project connects the ground floor and basement floor through large green slopes,” said the studio.
“A balance is made between ensuring the continuity of the public green space on the roof and providing a good environment for underground office space.”
This shift in levels is most apparent at the centre of the plot, where a stepped area of seating and planting – called the outdoor theatre – is flanked by wide concrete staircases.
As this central element climbs up the site, thin corridors on either side dig deeper into the slope. These act as light-wells for the spaces below on either side, including the lecture theatre which mirrors the stepped planters.
The new structures provide both continuous, open-plan office spaces and more private, smaller workspaces for groups of around 30 people.
All of the designers involved in the Vanke Design Community came to a consensus on materials, unifying the area with a palette of fair-faced concrete, glass and steel. A large metal bridge cuts across the south of the site, connecting one side of the campus to the other.
A similar concept of covering workspaces with a park was recently used by Approach Design for their project for a convention centre in Hangzhou, where a sports park floats above the halls.