Fly Through the Shenzhen of the Future

ShekouDaily   |   August 19, 2019

With Shenzhen having made amazing strides over the last 40 years, the sharing of photos depicting the city’s advacements over the period is common; however, we rarely get a chance to see what the Shenzhen of tomorrow may look like. Here’s an astonishing glimpse of what the future city of Shenzhen may hold for us.

Henning Larsen, alongside two chinese firms, has won an international contest to design a vast new neighborhood in Shenzhen. Henning Larsen’s 117-hectare Shenzhen masterplan promises an architectural identity to match the city’s global prominence. Sparkling steel rises along the Shenzhen waterfront, with buildings massing to form a canyon that serves as a major pedestrian corridor and a visual gateway to the city. 

Henning Larsen’s competition-winning scheme for ‘shenzhen bay headquarters city’ seeks to forge a new relationship with the coastline. ‘To create an attractive waterfront we brought commercial and cultural facilities meters away from the seashore, so citizens will finally be able to enjoy the atmosphere of shenzhen bay in an activated urban environment, like in sydney, singapore or copenhagen,’ say Claude Godefroy, partner and design director of Henning Larsen’s Hong Kong office.

By reclaiming space traditionally dominated by vehicle traffic, outdoor pedestrian life becomes the masterplan’s defining element. A major waterfront park forms the community’s social nucleus, as Shenzhen weaves social green space throughout the urban network to maintain a commitment to personal well-being and natural connections. Vehicles are relegated to an extensive underground network of highways, roads, and parking. meanwhile, all the basement levels of the district are interconnected in a network of retail arcades and sunken plazas, replacing the need for out-sized shopping malls above ground. In lieu of the massive shopping malls traditionally sitting beneath the tall buildings, the architects propose a porous urban fabric composed of smaller buildings sitting in between the towers. at eye level, this urban typology offers a human scale with narrow alleys and small plazas.

With China prioritizing urban development with a long-term focus, our Shenzhen masterplan provides a future-proofed concept that is a natural match for a region geared toward developing new technology, says Godefroy. Balancing the massive urban scale with personal comfort guarantees a thriving new community that caters to residents on personal terms.

This porous urban fabric also allows effective urban ventilation by making use of the sea breeze, which can contribute to cool the district during hot summer months. other heat-reducing measures include the integration of 10,000 trees, roof gardens, and whitewashed streets. ‘The success of this district depends largely on our capacity to reduce the heat in the public realm, especially when considering climate change,’ explains Claude Godefroy. ‘We know by experience that our initiatives can reduce the heat within the district by 5-8 degrees compared to the surrounding city. The added comfort level will encourage citizens to use the public realm.’

Large-scale art installations seek to attract attention from afar, while the seafront will house larger cultural venues for performing arts and exhibitions. Furthermore, an ambitious plan to impose public and cultural venues at the pinnacle of the tallest towers will create a ‘skyline of art’ — defining the overall image of the entire district.

Henning Larsen will now refine the design further before presenting the final masterplan.

All images and video courtesy of henning larsen