SOPA - Society Particular, Zuocheng Architect & Associates
The Hisense Mall is gracefully situated on the Fushan Bayfront in Qingdao, where its extension project is perched atop the building's roof. Despite its strategic location amidst the city's temperate climate and numerous tourist attractions, the mall's architectural form is impermeable, with an inward focus that disengages it from the urban context.
The mall was undergoing an extension project to accommodate a larger Louis Vuitton and Dior shop. Halfway through construction, we were commissioned to design an extension on the roof "to cater to our high-end clientele, a glass house with a fancy shape, something akin to the restaurant on the London Walkie Talkie."
Our primary objective was to create an inclusive space where people from all walks of life could appreciate the stunning views. Therefore, we had to devise a solution that was both time and cost-efficient, yet compelling enough to sway our client's original request. Rather than creating a new shape, we sought to imbue shape with new meaning. Hence, the proposal of "an amphitheater on top of a hall" — a light-flooded hall that meets the brief's requirements, topped with a public space where people can climb high, bask in the picturesque scenery, and enjoy public performances without spending a penny.
The structural design of this extension features a spatial steel structure system that minimizes the number and thickness of columns, with a hyperbolic paraboloid shell that enhances structural efficiency. The Z-shaped beams, formed by the steel plate treads and kick plates of the grand staircase roof, directly participate in load-bearing, thus reducing the need for secondary beams. Moreover, the steel roof plate acts as both a structural component and waterproofing layer, making the project cost-effective. The bespoke blend of EPDM particles, used to cover the roof, ensures comfort, safety, shock absorption, and noise reduction.
Our solution is a pragmatic approach to design, where true innovation lies not in shaping but in programming and organizing. We hope this extension project will demonstrate how commercial buildings can embrace cultural awareness and spirituality. The combination of positioning, context, form, and compatible functions makes it an ideal setting for innovative layering of programs. The synergy is unique and apt, promoting a more equitable and inclusive urban environment.