The Roof Shanghai, Xuhui District Retail, Chinese Building Design Project, Architecture Photos

The Roof, Shanghai Building

11 Jun 2021

The Roof, Shanghai Building Design

Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel with ASPECT Studios

Location: Yongjia Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China

The Roof, Shanghai

ASPECT Studios is part of a collaborative team behind an exciting new lifestyle and retail destination, The Roof in Shanghai, which offers a unique design infused with the characteristics of its traditional context.

The Roof, Shanghai by Jean Nouvel

Images by RAW Vision Studio/ASPECT Studios unless noted otherwise

Representing qualities of the backstreets (Li ‘long) of Shanghai, The Roof carefully weaves its surrounding culture into its distinctive design, creating a model for future city spaces where people and nature thrive in a destination to see and be seen in.

The Roof, Shanghai by Jean Nouvel

In early 2018, CIFI appointed ASPECT Studios as part of the project team for delivery of the architectural landscape and living façade design of this iconic building by Jean Nouvel. Appreciating the sites context, culture, and community played a vital role in successfully realizing the vision of the project.

The Roof, Shanghai by Jean Nouvel

Shanghai is one of the most iconic, modern, fast paced, and densely populated cities in the world. However, the historic 100-year-old laneways provide a completely different experience where there is much to explore and admire; one that is quintessential to the soul of Shanghai hosting its own characteristics, pace of life, community, and culture.

The Roof, Shanghai by Jean Nouvel

The project is defined by its bold architecture and living façades, sky decks and sky gardens, with plants everywhere, at all heights and depths. Flowers, shrubs, trees, and draping flora form an extraordinary visual and spatial display. The whole place resonates with the feeling of nature and fresh air, adding a special charm to the city and neighbourhood.

The Roof, Shanghai by Jean Nouvel

The idea of reflecting the DNA of Li ’long has been layered into the design and decision process at each opportunity, to form a place full of diverse forms of social life allowing people to co-exist and connect with nature on multiple levels. Creating an iconic contemporary office and commercial hub, bordered by vibrant community and commercial spaces, the design respects the scale of the surrounding urban environment, yet has its own depth of detail and individuality. Vivid red and beige brick frame the linear corridors, while an abundance of greenery in potted plants climb, cascade, and thrive on every surface, creating a biophilic environment that’s intrinsic to the Li ’long.

The Roof, Shanghai by Jean Nouvel

Stephen Buckle, Shanghai Studio Director, ASPECT Studios explained, “As a local resident living within the traditional backstreets a block away from the site, I hold a special connection to this place, culture and community; it’s an honour to have the opportunity to work on this site and help envision the place for future generations.” Increasing biodiversity in a dense urban setting was crucial in informing the chosen plant species, whilst also considering the creation of a year-round display of changing natural colours, tones, and greenery.

Biophilic spaces provide a human connection to nature:
Biophilic spaces China planting balcony
image : G-ART/ASPECT Studios

Across the project there is a total of ten façades, which house horizontal arrangements and clusters of planting. Each cluster is a collection of curated species suitable to its climate conditions. The clusters create an everchanging seasonal display from the atrium to the outer façades. The façade integrations have strongly encouraged wildlife and pollinators into the heart of a dense urban environment, which creates a harmonious place for people and nature.

The Roof Shanghai, Xuhui District retail
image : ASPECT Studios

At the top of the building there are two roof gardens with gathering spaces which are planted with trees that open out to the sky, creating a shared terrace that offers an open view to the urban skyline. Sky decks on selected floors provide immersive, cool and welcoming spaces that grant the opportunity to walk in nature and appreciate the diverse forms of life.

The Roof Shanghai, Xuhui District retail
image : ASPECT Studios

ASPECT Studios undertook an evidence-based design approach to apprise the design and creative process, helping to guide decisions on planting, biodiversity, development of material palettes and details that reflected the unique character of place.

This process included building a one to one scale mock-up on the outskirts of Shanghai for testing and studying of the complex architecture and structure, as well as an advance growing strategy to achieve robust planting design solutions from the outset. Data on solar, wind, sun, and other micro-climate related factors that cover both the building and surroundings was digitally analysed in depth using the latest micro climatic modelling tools.

The Roof Shanghai, Xuhui District retail
image : ASPECT Studios

In summer when in leaf, the plants provide interior shade that reduces heavy reliance on air conditioning. In winter, the deciduous species drop their leaves and help increase natural light exposure while the soil assists to create an additional layer of thermal buffer against the cold air.

Buckle commented, “It was important that the design was more than a simple visual display of generic greenery and planting, instead it was an opportunity to show ‘what could be’ within the cities of tomorrow. To create a place, experience and environment that added balanced value to people and nature.

“The resulting design is a bold and unique response to culture, climate, and context, whilst realising a biophilic and biodiverse environment that responds to the needs of the cities people, a place to meet, work, relax and socialize and be embraced by inspiring qualities of nature in an urban environment.”

The Roof Shanghai, Xuhui District retail
image : ASPECT Studios

The Roof’s planting is specifically positioned to ensure it is viewed from inside, allowing each office worker to enjoy a unique environment engrossed in nature and greenery. When human senses are stimulated in a way nature intended, the benefits to psychological wellbeing, among many others prevail. This connection is especially important in the workplace where the incorporation of green space, natural light and plants are proven to help with individual health and wellbeing, ensuring better employee satisfaction, office productivity, and greater levels of creativity, motivation, and efficiency.

Within the short time since opening The Roof has rapidly become one of the most photographed locations in Shanghai, with an array of people coming to immerse themselves in this unique and exciting experience to capture moments of tranquillity and delight.

The Roof project joins ASPECT Studios portfolio of unique and meaningful landmark and people orientated projects across China and Shanghai, including the Urban Gallery, Hyperlane in Chengdu, the One City development in Wuhan, the New Shanghai Library East, EXPOLand Office complex in Shanghai, the New Shanghai Museum and Huamu Lot 10 in Pudong, the Alibaba Phase 5 Headquarters, and Ant Financial Headquarters in Hangzhou.

The Roof, Shanghai Building Design

The Roof, Shanghai, China – Building Information

Client: CIFI Group
Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Landscape Architecture: ASPECT Studios
Living Façade: ASPECT Studios

ASPECT Design Team
Principle Landscape Architect: Stephen Buckle
Design Team: Derek Chen, Sam Xu, Suki Ye, Lemon Liao, Yan Luo, Phannita Phanitpharadon, Alex Cunanan de Dios, Cameron Archie
Local Architecture Engineer: Tianhua Group,
Local Landscape Engineer: Triones Landscape Eng Co
UHPC and Technical support Façade panels and Pot Fabricator: Ulcont Ltd.
Previous LA Concept: WAA

Images: RAW Vision Studio/ASPECT

Company Name: ASPECT Studios
Address: Level 4, 160 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

The Roof, Shanghai images / information received 100621 from ASPECT Studios

Address: China, Shanghai, Xuhui District, Yongjia Rd, 570号永嘉庭
Phone: +86 21 6073 7628

Location: Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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