SHENZHEN BAY CULTURAL PLAZA – RE-STITCHING THE CITY FABRIC
The project is located at the Houhai district of Nanshan, Shenzhen, comprising a dozen of land parcels dissected by major thoroughfares. The Oval Partnership's winning concept is to stitch these pockets of land and surrounding urban fabric back together, bridging the hinterland with a new coastline the Bay, connecting transit and culture, landmarks and open spaces, places and people. Digital Placemaking was employed from the inception of the Shenzhen Bay Masterplanning process. Connectivity, pedestrian flow, and hybrid visual field metrics were leveraged to optimise footfall along with point-of-interest clustering analysis providing predictive analytics to fine-tune the proposal and enhance the value of the project.
Central to the success of the Shenzhen Bay Cultural Plaza was the need for astute cultural positioning and robust cultural strategies. From the outset, The Oval Partnership collaborated with cultural entrepreneur cum creative consultant Philip Dodd of Made in China. In this youngest city of China and perhaps the youngest urbanisation, the young do have time. Manmanlai, or ‘take it slow’ underpins the masterplan concept. Collaborating with local educators, the cultural landscape of Shenzhen was surveyed, from which a multi-layered strategy of mixed primary uses are woven along a contiguous public realm, to form ‘Villages’ of diverse characters and offerings: Field, Terrace, Townhall, Lighthouse and the Bay.
“We aspire to create a vibrant public realm that is diverse, walkable, and rich in cultural offerings,” The Oval Partnership Director Sada Lam said. “It is a creative urban endeavour—our architectural expression is ‘absent’—such that the architecture forms a framework to empower stakeholders in the neighbourhood to co-create what will become Shenzhen's next world-class hub, one that her people are a part of and proud of.”