As we know, the world is in a constant state of change. It demands efficient responses to its increasing density and living patterns. Aedas keeps this change at the core of its values by providing a global platform that is diverse by design. Their mission is to create design solutions bespoke to the needs of cities and communities worldwide. Such solutions are seen in Changsha Hua Centre Phase II, a mixed-use development that best responds to a very social and cultural context in China. This project was initiated in December 2014 and became open to the public in January 2020.  

Changsha Hua Centre Phase II by Aedas -Sheet1
Changsha Hua Centre Phase II with context_©Aedas

Design Inspiration 

The project is in the capital city of Hunan province in south-central China. Adhering to their design philosophies, Aedas has made sure to reflect Hunan’s unique cultural context in the building as much as possible. Changsha Hua Center Phase II’s goal is to reflect the romantic character of the city with residential, office, retail, art, and exhibition elements. A multifaceted design like this fits downtown Changsha as an ode to rapid development within the old city. The building aims to symbolise the adaptation of the Hunan people to the recent technological advancements of the world. The site is located at the most popular Jiefang West Road, the crossroad of Taiping Street and Pozijie Street in Changsha, which is close to the Xiang River and runs through the whole megacity. To reflect the characteristics of the megacity, Aedas has designed the building as a reflection of Zhangjiajie. The landscape of Zhangjiajie is a UNESCO World Heritage site, comprising picturesque peaks, canyons, caves, and waters in between. The building simulates the natural landscape of Hunan through multiple setbacks, creating rooftop gardens and viewing platforms. A bridge proposed in the centre of the towers is a reminder of Tianmen Cave, a natural archway on the cliffs of Hunan. Its height is so grand that people have called it a “Gate to Heaven.” (Song, 2021)

Changsha Hua Centre Phase II by Aedas -Sheet2
Changsha Hua Centre Phase II_©Aedas

Programming and Planning

Aedas has followed the “Cultural and Creative Complex” theme, where the building includes office, residential, retail, and art-level commercial spaces. Firstly, the office spaces are shared in nature, have separate access, and look spill out to rooftop gardens for pleasant views of the city. The design is due to the trends in market research, which pointed to opting for flexible, open, mobile, and controllable shared office spaces. As for the retail space, a new shopping experience has been generated that integrates art, humanity, and nature – the three aspects Aedas plans to interconnect. The public can immerse themselves in art exhibitions, events, and performances through designated podiums. The overall circulation is inviting through adequate vertical transportation that guides the user for an optimal spatial experience.

Changsha Hua Centre Phase II by Aedas -Sheet3
Changsha Hua Centre Phase II’s Zoning with Orange showing retail and Blue showing residential and office spaces_©Aedas
Changsha Hua Centre Phase II by Aedas -Sheet
Changsha Hua Centre Phase II’s Circulation_©Aedas

The programs provided aim to augment the existing context comprising Grand Hyatt hotels, Super Class 5A office buildings, Hisense international boutiques, restaurants, and apartments. As these typologies cater to high-class users, this project aims to cater to the low and middle classes by providing small, shared offices, apartments, and commercial spaces. Therefore, the user expands from the high class to the middle class, improving the inclusivity of the community. (Wen & Lin, 2020)

Structure and Efficiency  

Spanning a height of 455 ft, Changsha Hua Centre Phase II consists of 28 floors. In the early stage of construction, Aedes utilised Autodesk Revit to consolidate the structure, electromechanical drawings, HVAC equipment, and curtain wall drawings. The main structure consists of an RCC system where lateral structural elements and floor-spanning systems are constructed from concrete and reinforced by steel bars. (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, 2022). The curved contour in the form is responsible for a semi-enclosed micro-climate with natural ventilation through stack-effect and uninterrupted daylight. The building caters to the environment by providing a PV system, roof gardens, and permeable paving. Even the massing is meticulously done by Aedas to offer maximum views, channel wind, and minimise construction effort. A 15 ft clearance height is given on each floor to enhance sunlight exposure and capture Changsha in apartments, offices, and other functionalities. A podium at the entrance consists of a glass dome where light sheds, as a reminder of the Huanglong Cave, where stat where stalactites and stalagmites shimmer under colourful spotlights. (AASA, 2019)

Changsha Hua Centre Phase II’s Environmental Diagram_©Aedas

This carefully crafted structure spanning a gross floor area of 1,350,225 square feet has caught the attention of multiple design awards from 2019 to 2022. Some of these include being the Golden Winner of the NOVUM Design Award for 2022 and 5-Star, Best Mixed Used Architecture of China in Asia Pacific Property Awards in 2020. Overall, the project opts for a holistic approach, where Aedas aims to amplify design efficiency by being conscious of Hunan’s context, creating a multicultural, innovative hub.

References :

Aasa, A.A.S.A. (2019) Changsha Hua Centre Phase II development by Aedas, aasarchitecture. Available at: https://aasarchitecture.com/2019/11/changsha-hua-centre-phase-ii-development-by-aedas/ (Accessed: December 5, 2022). 

Song, C. (2021) Tianmen Mountain – climb the stairway to heaven’s door, Tianmen Mountain, Heaven’s Gate Mountain, Zhangjiajie China. Available at: https://www.chinahighlights.com/zhangjiajie/attraction/tianmen-mountain.htm (Accessed: December 5, 2022). 

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (2022) Hua Center Phase II North Tower, Hua Center Phase II North Tower – the skyscraper center. Available at: https://www.skyscrapercenter.com/building/hua-center-phase-ii-north-tower/16399 (Accessed: December 5, 2022)

Wen, D.A. and Lin, Z. (2020) Changsha Hua Center Phase II Project Soho Office and retail by Aedas, Changsha Hua Center Phase II Project Soho Office and Retail. Available at: https://competition.adesignaward.com/design.php?ID=101483 (Accessed: December 5, 2022). 

Author

Sara is a final year student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Pakistan. As an Urban Design enthusiast, her main interest lies in identifying the relationship between sociology and architecture. She believes that exploring rich dialogues between people and the environment are the catalysts for fostering healthy solutions to adversities.

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