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Jianianhua Center Chongqing is a foggy riverfront city that sought to breathe new life into its commercial district, Jiangbei. As part of a redevelopment master plan, the city commissioned the design of a central park and plaza, which would be anchored by the Jianianhua building. The client initially sought a super-tall iconic tower, but through discussions about their goals and studies of the district, the design team became convinced that a lower building would be more in scale with the park, less imposing, yet equally powerful as a civic landmark. In addition, cars were banished to the perimeter, redefining the area as a pedestrian haven. The Jianianhua building itself defines a new kind of civic landmark, one that establishes meaning and presence through an innovative integration of architecture and graphic design. The transparent glass building (40,000 square meters of retail and 10,000 square meters of office space, plus parking) steps down toward the park, with seven floors of retail organized in a C-shape around an atrium and a slender office tower raising another seven stories behind. At the same time, the building appropriates the large-scale commercial signage that predominates in the city and elevates this mode of urban communication to the level of public art. As the building neared completion, the client commissioned SOM to design its first graphic, which was unveiled as a gift to the city at the Chinese New Year festival in 2005. Buildings have always communicated the values and aspirations of their time, and the Jianianhua Center embraces this moment for Chongqing. It blurs the line between building and media and combines the possibilities of our information-powered culture with advanced building technology, creating an evolving architecture that defines a significant public space and connects a city with its people in a radically new way.

Project name: Jianianhua Center Award date: 2006 Location: Chongqing, China Project area: 64,340 m2 Architect: Skidmore, Owings& Merrill LLP Client: Chongqing Financial Street Real Estate Co. Photographer: Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings& Merrill LLP Tim Griffith Completion date: 2005 Award name: McGraw-Hill Construction 1st Bi-Annual "Good Design Is Good Business" China Awards 2006, Best Commercial Project

Good Design in China  

The book, co-published by LST Publishing House and McGraw-Hill, is a collection of 45 award-winning projects from three "Good Design Is Good...

Good Design in China  

The book, co-published by LST Publishing House and McGraw-Hill, is a collection of 45 award-winning projects from three "Good Design Is Good...

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