Located on Pazhou, Langham Place, Guangzhou together with Guangzhou Commercial Showcase Complex form the Nanfung Commercial, Hospitality and Exhibition Complex. The 500-room five-star hotel has a dramatic, animated appearance, with horizontal elements accentuated through small and large shifts to maximize the dialogue between the buildings, providing a dynamic, unified and powerful expression for the exhibition complex.
Situated opposite from the government funded exhibition center, which currently ranks the second largest in the world, Langham Place, Guangzhou and its sister building are separated 160 meters apart by a third independent building on two sites, which makes it not only an exciting design opportunity but a titillating and indefinable challenge which begs to be expressed in built form. The need to unify with its sister building heightens the complexity.
The area is filled with very strong and bold formal design moves, and it was deemed important that the design should strive to be unique and iconic to give the project a strong and comfortable identity within its surroundings while fitting into it sensitively.
Early studies considered several options on how to position the projects’ two-site relationship to their middle neighbour. At last, the architects chose the ‘intensify’ approach, a process that looks at how to increase the ‘volume’ of the two sites with regards to each other, so that the middle neighbour recedes in value and becomes more neutral.
We explored breaking down the massing, first vertically, which did in fact increase the relationship between our sites and allow the middle neighbour site to become more neutral. However, the relationship between our two sites, although increased, was too static. We then looked at a horizontal solution of how to break down the monolithic blocks, which was not only found in the middle neighbour but also consistently in the surrounding blocks. This actually had the desired result where the two sites began to communicate with each other and the middle neighbour then became more of a backdrop to the complex’s two sites.
– Aedas International
The design responds to the project’s surrounding context, and its direct and unapologetic reaction to the passive middle neighbour, by both the volumetric placement of the towers as well as the articulation of both these towers and their podium. This static electricity magnetically ties the two sites together, perceptually binding the separated buildings with the middle neighbour solely as a conduit.
The moves are deliberate, allowing for a unified complex with a strong identity. The project becomes a strong contextual icon set in the middle of its heavy neighbours as a dynamic design and expression befitting of these internal and external challenges and becoming a built-representation shaped and formed by these forces.
The Hong Kong Institute of Architects Annual Awards 2014
Finalist, Commercial Building Outside Hong Kong
HKIA Cross-strait Architectural Design Awards 2015
Nominated Award, Hotels
*All images and information courtesy of Aedas International.