Embracing the forest-rich landscape of Shanghai, Koichi Takada, an Australia-based firm is inspired by the natural diversity of China for its latest design. Koichi Takada designs a Solar Trees Marketplace and creates a biophilic structure that will be powered by solar energy, and carve a greener future for China.
The three-story mixed-use development is an amalgamation of artificial as well as natural trees that presents as a gateway to the new Shanghai Tian An Caobao Road Area Residential Masterplan by Tian An China.
Located in the Minhang district, 20 km southwest of Shanghai, the Solar Trees marketplace exhibits 32 architectural trees that rise above from the ground to form a canopy of timber branches. The structure establishes an open design extending to create an outdoor public space, reinterpreting the traditional Chinese markets as a community space. Currently under construction, and due to finish by the end of 2021, the overall floor area of the marketplace of 3,450 square meters accommodates the modular market stalls.
The design of the marketplace sets a new green benchmark for mixed-use residential developments and upholds China’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2060. The green spine echoes the 155,000 square meters residential master plan by inculcating a unique landscape to transform the gridlocked and polluted urban environments into a flourishing and more sustainable place through nature-inspired concept.
The prominent biophilic structure of Solar Trees Marketplace embodies environmental and sustainable design initiatives. The assimilation of timber branches and leaves of a series of 32 man-made trees are mounted above the footpath to provide shade and shelter while allowing fresh air and natural light to percolate the marketplace making people savor the feel of outside shopping. The solar panels on the translucent canopies generate power for the structure while illustrating a visual cue of the green agenda.
Depicting the history of the social and gathering space, the incorporation of modular market stalls authenticates the contemporary design of the structure as a cultural space by recognizing a new generation to gather at its crux. The Chinese tradition indicates a way of making people feel at home, bīn zhì rú guī; that is reflected in the marketplace by harmonizing a powerful sense of community to conform the public and private areas.
The Solar Trees Marketplace is a blend of man-made organic design and a boulevard of native trees. The green spine of the marketplace is a natural haven that is planted with three thousand trees and shrubs indigenous to Shanghai. Running along at the beginning of the corridor are fifty Camphor trees planted outside that welcome you into the vivacious market along with white Magnolia (city flower of Shanghai), Ginkgo, Camphor, and Celtis sinensis that create a new and symbolic park.
The use of color coding for different species of plants acts as indicators to identify and distinguish neighborhoods within the residential master plan and acts as a guide for the residents to return home. As an extension of the natural landscape, the Solar Trees Marketplace allows people to benefit from the filtering sunlight through the canopy, the airflow penetrating through the timber branches to enjoy the sense of well-being, and the benefits of shopping outside.
Koichi Takada envisions the marketplace to be an interactive domain. As mentioned by Koichi Takada himself, “We want to humanize the buildings within the district to be more engaging to the general public and contribute to the regeneration of communities and their neighborhoods. We want architecture to celebrate cultural identity alongside encouraging pedestrian activities and a more walkable and liveable city.”
The solar trees Marketplace is the latest design in the series of the Sydney-based practice of Koichi Takada Architects that focuses on sustainable design practices and draws inspiration from nature to create a more habitable environment. Their philosophy of humanistic architecture reflects in the way they work. The holistic and collaborative approach to produce prosperous communities that connects them with the world is their motto. They transform the skylines and cityscapes with cultural creativity to enrich the lives of citizens and achieve new benchmarks. Their philosophy also focuses on relationship building along with designs and provides localized support simultaneously with the expertise and capabilities of their firm.
To improve the inner lives of people and to exist in harmony with the planet as well as a greater empathy with nature is the goal they are aiming for. Koichi Takada believes in one expression; form follows nature. By observing the natural environment, they yearn to inspire kinetic architecture for contemporary living. Curiosity inspires fearless innovation in them to improve our planet through an abstract form resulting in a restorative experience for the people.
Koichi Takada Architects are a family of designers that make organically inspired places to reconnect the planet with a natural, intuitive, and conscious future. Their designs such as the Solar Trees Marketplace along with other projects aim to naturalize architecture in the urban environment.
- Koichi Takada Architects [Online]
Available at: www.koichitakada.com
- Archdaily [Online]
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- Designboom [Online]
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