MVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale Magazine

MVRDV designs Shenzhen Terraces

Designed within a pedestrian-friendly landscape with a mixture of functions and public transport, Shenzhen Terrace is conceptualised as a sustainable hub, acting as a 3-dimensional urban living room.

MVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale MagazineLocated in Universiade New Town, Longgang District, Shenzhen, MVRDV’s Shenzhen Terraces was selected from 27 entries by international design firms. Designed with sustainability as a focus, the completed project will form the core of the thriving university neighborhood, acting as a new three-dimensional urban living room with more than 20 programmes, including a small gallery, library, and outdoor theater.

The central concept of Shenzhen Terraces is to merge the existing landscape with the new development by using stacked plateaus for its various buildings. The predominantly horizontal lines of the terraces contrast with the vertical lines of the surrounding high-rises to bring about a sense of tranquility through their slow curving shapes.

MVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale MagazineMVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale MagazineCombining a pedestrian-friendly landscape with a mixture of functions and public transport, Shenzhen Terraces is poised to become a sustainable hub for the surrounding area, say MVRDV. The abundant planting and water features reduce the local temperature and provide habitat for urban wildlife, while gardens and rainwater collection generate food and water resources. The concrete used in the buildings themselves will be made using recycled concrete as the aggregate, and photovoltaic panels will adorn extensive portions of the rooftops.

MVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale MagazineMVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale MagazineThe terraces are adapted to serve a diversity of functions: large overhangs shield the visitors from the hot sun while offering places to sit and enjoy the view. These shaded terraces create places for plants and water basins that cool the verandas and create a climate buffer to the interiors. The edges of the terraces dip at strategic points to form connections between the various floors and to double as small outdoor auditoriums. In other places, the facades are pushed inwards to emphasize entrances and create recognizable places within the scheme to help visitors orient themselves. The largest building – containing among other things a bus terminal, conference centre, and entrepreneurship centre on the east of the site – is carved out in its centre to form an open-air atrium. Finally, bridging elements are introduced between the various buildings, turning the second floor into a continuous route and connecting it with the surrounding developments. These connections knit Shenzhen’s newest urban living room into its context, making it one with the city and offering access for all.

MVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale Magazine“Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and the natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape. The urban living room of the Shimao ShenKong International Centre will be a wonderful example of this and could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen. It aims to make an area that you want to be outside, hang out, and meet, even when it is hot – a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside. It will truly be a public building.”

MVRDV to design Shenzhen Terraces - Scale MagazineThe design’s landscaping, developed in collaboration with Openfabric, echoes the pebble-like forms of the terraces above to create patches of greenery and public programming between pedestrian routes. These patches host planting that imitates the sub-tropical natural forests of the region, mixed alongside features such as grassy hills, palm tree-filled plazas, public art, reflective pools, and activity zones for pursuits such as climbing or table tennis. The landscaping also extends to the roofs of the buildings, with a green lawn that are accessible to the users occupying the areas that are not covered with photovoltaic panels.


Project Name: Shenzhen Terraces Location: Shenzhen, China Year: 2019 Client: Shenzhen Shimao Xin Li Cheng Industry Co.,Ltd. Size and Programme: 95,000 m2 mixed-use


Architect: MVRDV  Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas Director: Gideon Maasland Associate Design Director: Gijs Rikken Design Team: Sanne van Manen, IrgenSalianji, Shengjie Zhan, Luca Beltrame, Katarzyna Maria Ephraim, Cas Esbach, Hengwei Ji, DongMin Lee, Yannick Macken, Giuseppe  Mazzaglia, Siyi Pan, Sen Yang, Jiani You, Daan Zandbergen Images: © Atchain Copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)


Landscape architect: Openfabric Cost Calculation: Shanghai Xinyuan Construction Engineering Consulting Co., Ltd

All Images courtesy MVRDV