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An Intimate Network of Pathways: Urban District in Shanghai

The neighbourhood’s built landscape is characterized by its typical elongated structures, known collectively as Li Long. The word li means neighbourhood; long describes the predominant shape of this district, which has many narrow alleyways and intimate urban spaces. The design prepared by gmp borrows extensively from this overall structure. The neighbourhood’s proportions, building types and orientation have been consciously taken up in order to lovingly integrate existing buildings and create a reference to the old town, which is historically significant.

The district, which has been certified LEED Gold, comprises nine east-west-facing, elongated tracts and a 100-metre high-rise intended to create a reference to the overall look of Shanghai. The rows of buildings have produced an intricate network of paths and lanes among the structures. The narrow paths among the buildings all lead towards a centrally located square with various places to stop for a rest. Furthermore, the square provides access to underground commercial spaces as well as the city’s subway system.

The building tracts are crowned with sloping roofs covered in strips of natural stone which continue seamlessly onto the façade. In contrast to the light-coloured stone plates, the windows are framed in dark-grey metal. The sleek façade design, which features not a single traditional building component, is a deliberate abstraction of the façade image. This is meant to emphasise the urban-planning focus of the project. This is shown in the successful transformation of predominant structures into a contemporary urban addition. The supposed uniformity of the building tracts are a marked contrast to the fascinating internal network of pathways, whose interplay of narrow lanes and more spacious areas produces an experience of diversity for those inspired to explore.

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Further Information:

Competition Assistants: Stefan Hornscheidt, Li Zheng, Zhou Bin, Zhang Jing

Project Management: Matthias Wiegelmann, Kong Jing

Realization Assistants: Cai Yu, Guo Fuhui, Kornelia Krzykowska, Li Ling, Sebastian Linack, Xie Fang, Thilo Zehme, Zhang Yingying, Zheng Shanshan, Zhou Bin, Catharina Cragg, Dai Tianxing, Gao Rui, Hua Rong, Wu Hua, Yuan Hang, Zhang Xuhui

Client: SOHO China

Chinese Partner Agency: ECADI (East China Architectural Design & Research Institute CO. LTD)


Gross Floor Area overground: 71.565,00 m²

Gross Floor Area underground: 64.975,00 m²

Store Area: 85.661,00 m²

Office Area: 50.879,00 m²

Height Tower: 99,85 m


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