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Raffles City is located on the junction of Dongzhimen NeiDaJie and Beijing’s 2nd Ring Road. The site is at the heart of Beijing’s developing business district and sits on one of the city’s most important cross roads. The site sits diagonally opposite the existing DongZhimen transport interchange that is currently being upgraded to service the new Capital Airport. The Raffles City development will be linked with this interchange between basement levels B1 and B2.
The interchange sits on the confluence of Line 2 (circle line) and Line 13 part of the city’s over ground network. The parcel of land that Raffles City sits on is 105metres wide (along DongZhimen ), and 145 metres long (along the 2nd Ring Road). The overall organization of the Raffles City development is designed to be straightforward well connected and clearly expressed. It is an unmediated layering of distinct elemental volumes:
* the retail podium
* the thin vertical-slabs of apartment hotels accommodation
* the commercial office tower
Significant emphasis has been given to the design of the north east corner of the development to provide a dynamic visual connection from the interchange site and the north south/east west City Boulevard approaches.
The intention of this Raffles City design proposal is that the architectural arrangement promotes and exposes an open, interconnected, safe, exciting, clear and easily legible design solution for building users. It is also different to its competitors in a way that make it a destination.
The experience of entering and moving around the retail areas of Raffles City is intended to be surprising, memorable and enjoyable. The shopping mall is a sculptural, five storey sweeping day lit enclosure. At the heart of the mall is glass “crystal lotus” shopping wedge that links the two retail wings together. It is the defining centrepiece of Raffles City and a statement of the ambition of this unique shopping experience.
The glass-wedge is the tallest free standing structure in the building. This “non-building” (can be programmed in a number of ways) is the beacon of the retail activity. Highlighting perhaps what is important, that most commonplace but most significant of public activities inside the building can be celebrated and become an expression of free-fall circulation, free-flow communication, free flow vision; human interaction in all its creativeness.
The retail shop fronts, which could be fitted out according to the retailers’ imagination and creativity, curve through the space horizontally, articulating the atrium in a dramatic volume of light and movement. The shopping galleries, which extend along both wings of the mall, add colour and texture to this exciting space. Bridges span the atrium via the crystal wedge, affording views down through the volume towards the ground floor and lower level retail floor.
The detail podium is wrapped by a continuous patterned “pixelated glass-paper” that extends around into the office lobby and onto the lower levels of the office building (the infill panels will change to suit the nature of the activity behind, i.e. commercial office or food and beverage).
From arrival at lobby level and the journey to the workplace the experience will be one of world class quality.
The intention is to use the high transparency of non-reflective “colourless” — ultra-clear (low-E) glass to provide an environmentally efficient façade system. The glazed panels will have a colour frit pattern applied onto a certain percentage of the glass that bleeds naturally into the vision panel zone, creating a kaleidoscopic and vibrant effect throughout the entire elevation.
The 2 apartment hotels hover over the retail podium rooted to the podium garden in places by the residents Clubhouse.
The thin slabs of apartment hotels accommodation enclose and embrace the roof terrace, creating a private urban garden for the residents. The two buildings provide a variety of apartment types from single bed studios to 3 bedroom units all of which have a garden view or a view to the city, some towards the Forbidden City.
The Clubhouse which is accessed from a dedicated street level controlled lobby or from the residents dedicated car park zone; contains a variety of resident amenities from swimming pool and gymnasium to crèche and lounge. The central area of the garden contains the retail mall roof glazing， a mounded faceted surface that reads as part of the garden landscape. The crystal wedge punctures the glazed roof further exaggerating the sculpted surface of the garden.
Public access and amenities
Outside the building, parallel strips of level and reclining triangulated planter surfaces provide a gentle articulation and protection to the building fore court from the surrounding roads.
These triangulated strips stage a sequence of distinct spaces that give definition to the primary building entrances, driveways, drop off points and the dedicated event space.
Each day inhabitants of Raffles City will penetrate the building layers as they progress from the street to their destination teasing out precipitous potentials of the spaces created. They will judge the effectiveness of juxtaposed elements as they move from the MRT basement levels to the high, deep, light and airy retail, apartment hotels and workplaces in a daily grand tour.
150,000 sqm CFA, 97,000 sqm above ground. Consisting of 35,000 sqm Office, 35,000 sqm Retail, 20,000 sqm Ascott Serviced Apartment, 7000 sqm Residential
Design Start June 2005, Construction Start July 2006, Completion Retail August 2008, Full completion February 2009
Client: Capitaland China Holding
Lim MingYan, Dr. Mao Daqing, Cheng Ming, Han Wei, Ding Tong, Liu Ziang, Liu XiaoYun, Xia Tao, Xun Tao
Architectural, Landscape, and Interior Design: SMC Alsop Beijing
Stephen Pimbley, Jan Felix Clostermann, Sofia David, Tan MingYin, Nico Bornman, Damian Chan, John Curran, Alvin Foo, Torrance Goh, He Wei, Ho Hsiu Yan, Gyn Kong, Lee SiHyung, Victor Lee, Li Renjie, Peter Sim, Sven Steiner, Sun Penghui, Christian Taeubert, Wu JianYun, Jacqueline Yeo, Zhang Hua
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