The China (Shanghai) Experimental Free Trade Zone Financial Exchange Square is located in the heart of Harbor Front New City’s downtown area. Located by the East China Sea and the junction of the Yangtze River and Hangzhou Bay, it is also adjacent to Shanghai Harbor Front Service and Industrial areas and the Yang-Shang Tax-Free Port Area. The masterplan has been designed to be the most important “Gateway” to Shanghai from the southeast and also provide access to the major coastal islands. The entire area is centered on the scenic Di-shui Lake. The city street network expands outward in the form of rings and radii from the center of the round lake, creating a spatial characteristic reminiscent of water ripples. The programmed functions are meant to reinforce the idea of developing an international city and high-quality living/working environment, and to become a modern coastal city with co-existing government office center, business, living, high education, tourist, retail, and service elements.
The Financial Exchange Square, owned by Shanghai Lujiazui Xinchen Investment Company, consists of 4 separate parcels each representing a city block is located in the northeastern quadrant of The China (Shanghai) Experimental Free Trade Zone. Each parcel is organized around central courtyards. Office buildings define and occupy each corner of the block with a single story retail component completing the courtyard ring. The entry points to the buildings are defined with a canopy element and a stone façade. Vehicle drop-off occurs at the center of each courtyard. Cars drive onto a paved plaza and circulate to each entry point. After drop-off, vehicles exit the courtyard and circulate to ramps on the side streets that lead to lower level parking.
The buildings are designed to be very simple in character and layout. Cores are situated at either end of the buildings so the entire center is clear for efficient planning. Open office layouts have the potential to go from one exterior wall to the other, allowing natural light to penetrate from both sides. Each building has a terrace at the top floor, and an outdoor space overlooks the lake and other natural surroundings. There is a standard palette of glass and metal materials that is modified slightly between tall and short buildings and between the different parcels. The intent is to create a lively development by using a few simple design features, such as screen walls, stone walls at the entrances, and different colors of metal panels to distinguish individual buildings while, at the same time, creating continuity.
The facades are a combination of metal, vision glass, fritted glass and natural stone. At the podium level, a solid stone wall, with a stainless steel interlay, frames each building entrance with a rich natural material. The retail podium is made of ultra-clear glass and gives the retail podium its character. A dark metal grill zone separates the podium from the office floors above. The office floors are made of full height glass walls. The walls have a horizontal slot at the floor and at the ceiling. Within the slots are operable metal panels that allow air flow and will exhaust the air in a fire situation. The glass walls of the high rise buildings extend beyond the enclosed space creating a “screen wall” that makes the glass read as a plane projecting off the surface of the building. At both ends of the buildings is a zone of metal panel. Within the metal panel zone, louvers are incorporated, as well as a fritted glass stair enclosure. The metal panel zone extends up and over the top of the buildings creating a differentiation of the massing. Different colors of metal panel are used for the tall buildings and the short buildings.