The new mixed-use complex in Jiuquan is a cosmopolitan center that brings together ideals of cultural, social and commercial hubs under one roof. It aims to reinvigorate existing urban fabric of a provincial Chinese city and create a focal point for the city's future development.As a multidimensional project, it operates on a variety of scales and creates a series of intimate and vibrant spaces, tailored for individuals and urban crowds.
Avoiding the dogma of functional sterility, the project abounds in multifunctional spaces, nods and paths. It shies away from the stereotypes of a free standing public building that has to proclaim its function long before one enters it, instead, the public program here is the conceptual spine, intertwined with the commercial and private, allowing for excitement and ambiguities of unpredictability devoid in the city today. The building is integrated with the city through a range of piazzas and terraces that disperse its scale on the street level, while at the same time it is a singular powerful element on the urban scale, an element that brings focus to the dull and amorphous urban structure of the city. It communicates its civic presence through the large public piazza in front of its main entrance, inviting the city to enter, whose sloping edges blur the boundaries between inside and outside.
Conceptual fabric of the building is clearly visible in its section. On the ground it is commercial level that represents the quotidian, a labyrinth of everyday services and trade; followed above by the piano noble representing the public and cosmopolitan: a wide landscape of interaction and interplay, with tentacles of ramps connecting it to the ground level; above the piano noble are two levels representing culture and leisure, accommodating multiplex cinema, theater, clubs, large gym, kindergarten, swimming pool, water entertainment park. Finally, the roof is a piece of nature, a large park that offers much needed green space for the city. All these horizontal elements are intertwined through a grand vault and a diversity of vertical connections that bind the spaces into one integral whole.
A cosmopolitan center, this project has an ambition to be an argument to rethink the value and the meaning of large mixed-use commercial projects built in the hundreds of Chinese cities. Lacking validity as social centers, these commercial places reflect today's social void of the country. We foresee the need to fill this void will be pressing in the coming years and decades, with the increase of leisure time. The question what is the civic center of your city will be ever more important: whether it is a soulless governmental building, an ill-conceived pseudo public square, or a lively and active urban heart that attracts people of different ages and backgrounds, imbued with a rich atmosphere of discovery, innovation, exchange, a social magnet whose main attractive power is human being himself.