Cities around the world are responding to the demands of rapidly changing densities with a call for more efficient public and civic infrastructure that facilitates their growth. Asia has been at the forefront of this movement and China is currently undergoing a flurry of new development; Tianhe and Baiyun is a new up-and-coming town in Guangzhou that aims to add an iconic design to its burgeoning skyline. Aedas is a leading architectural and interdisciplinary firm focused on the international exchange of information, local expertise, and international practice. Their philosophy of deep cultural, societal, and topographical understanding of the context informs their projects. 

Designs for New Twin Towers and Mixed-Use Complex in Guangzhou unveiled by Aedas and GDAD - Sheet1
Aerial View of GDH Yungang City_©Aedas

Aedas has unveiled their design for a 230m tall mixed-use building at the foothills of White Cloud Mountain just a few miles to the north of Guangzhou. The area is known for its scenic beauty and green cover, which forms the picturesque backdrop for the development and allows uninterrupted natural views. The Firm Aedas specializes in high-rise, high-density, and mixed commercial development; GDAD Guangdong Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd is a comprehensive survey and design unit in New China with an impressive portfolio of large-scale mixed-use projects. The GDH Yungang Complex is all set to become the second-biggest CBD in the city of Guangzhou. 

The Industrial city landscape of Guangzhou is all set to receive a plethora of fortune 500 companies that we housed in the prime spot adjacent to the Baiyun’s central nucleus and the main highway of the city. The massing design features several undulating forms that pay homage to the natural topography of the context while being futuristic in design. The site also features an urban green space to the east which is edged by the 100-m-tall building and the smaller 55-m-tall existing blocks. 

Designs for New Twin Towers and Mixed-Use Complex in Guangzhou unveiled by Aedas and GDAD - Sheet2
Aerial View_©Aedas

The 230m tall structure of the GDH Yungang City has been touted by its lead designer Kevin Wang of Aedas as Baiyun’s “vertebrae” that will be the guiding force for all future development. The buildings are arranged in a manner that offers unobstructed 270-degree panoramic views of surrounding hillsides. The direct building-to-building view is also avoided and the taller buildings measuring 230m and 190m are placed along the main highway. 

Designs for New Twin Towers and Mixed-Use Complex in Guangzhou unveiled by Aedas and GDAD - Sheet3
Aedas New Twin Tower in Guangzhou_©Archdaily

The overarching theme of a voyage and the folded, layered facade of the western building references ship sails and the idea of venturing into unchartered territories. The entrance foyer features a 3-story high ceiling with glass ribbed curtain walls. The overall contoured silhouette of the twin towers is complemented by the metal arch of the entrance.

The site also features a podium which will be the main commercial strip and will house all public activities by providing the main access thoroughfare to different buildings in the complex. Multiple nodes for the public activity will be created through the staggered layout of the blocks on the plot. A small city center on the southwestern gates facilitates pedestrian activity of the development and complements its public design features. Overall the complex imitates the natural slope of a hill with the taller building placed at the central nucleus and the relatively shorter structures placed at the outer edge. The design seamlessly integrates the industrial, commercial, and public functions enlisted in the property and intersects them with various open green spaces. By setting this growing business hub in a natural mountain setting. The mountain view will offset the modernist design with its undulating form and glazing. Nature inspires the design and reflects on it

Designs for New Twin Towers and Mixed-Use Complex in Guangzhou unveiled by Aedas and GDAD - Sheet4
Green Spaces_©Aedas

The east-facing offices with their glass facade and vertical paneling complement the general verticality of the complex. The rain garden provides panoramic views of the natural setting surrounding the city and creates several communal spaces which can be utilized for public activities. The design of the complex avoids direct building-to-building views, instead, it ensures 270-degree unobstructed panoramic views. To avoid superimposing effects on the neighboring park the particular building of the complex that neighbors it is the 100m block.

This mixed-use development in the beating heart of Guangzhou’s industrial city promises to be a beacon of development and upward mobility for the local and international community; a symbol of China’s growth trajectory. With a sleek aerodynamic modern design complete with vertical glazed paneling and a shape inspired by wind sails, there is symbolism embedded in the Aedas design. This central project is meant to start a flurry of new developments in the region which are in line with the government’s vision for bringing in more foreign businesses and diversifying the economy. With many important projects ongoing in the region by Aedas like the master plan of Shenzhen‘s new Qingshuihe Comprehensive Transportation Hub and the Hangzhou Yun He Wan International Tourism and Leisure Complex in Hangzhou, the firm is all set to become a major player in recreating the skyline of a progressive China.

Citations

Florian, M.C. (2022) Gallery of Aedas and GDAD unveil design for new twin towers and mixed use complex in Guangzhou, China – 14, ArchDaily

GDH Yungang City (plot 4) by Aedas (2022) Architizer. Available at: https://architizer.com/projects/gdh-yungang-city-plot-4/ (Accessed: January 8, 2023). 

Author

Fresh out of architecture school Ana is actively exploring the intersection between architecture and planning in her role as an Urban Designer in Lahore. Questions of inclusive planning systems in the south Asian context with a focus on climate change ,affordability and gender are her key areas of research.

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