Thursday, September 24, 2020


Retail oomph

The world’s largest duty free commercial complex has opened to the public in Southern China after 18 months of construction. The Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Center in Sanya, Hainan Island owes its design to Valode & Pistre Architectes. The Yuan 5 billion retail destination is an undulating free-form roof structure which houses retail outlets, restaurants, entertainment venues, and cultural facilities. The roof structure comprises 3200 glass and 1900 aluminium panels with integrated lighting systems which integrate so aesthetically into the folds and rises of the building that each represents different functions.  It is reported the building – a marvelous combo of art and technology – has been inspired by the Haitang flower which is the symbol of Sanya. The interior design of the shopping complex is by Hassel which is also involved in the next two phases of development at the site which includes a lake islet with a large food and beverage development in addition to cultural and entertainment facilities. Phase III of the project will be focused on luxury product centres and museums. The complex is separated into several inner courts, each with a theme and anchored by a central void created by a glass funnel. It is here that the roof drops down to ground level contributing to the natural light within and adding to the project’s sustainability quotient.



Design triumph


UNStudio has been appointed as principal architect for the Qatar Integrated Railway Project (QIRP) of which the Metro Network for the Greater Doha area will form a key component. It is reported phase 1 of the project undertaken by the Qatar Railway Company will include around 35 stations while there will be 60 stations in phase 2. The project is expected to give a fillip to the use of public transportation as an alternative to private transportation in the Qatari capital. The project’s design while serving as a link between the past and the future of Qatar, draws inspiration from regional architectural elements such as the Qatari dhow sail, nomadic tents et al. UNStudio has developed a manual which contains a set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines that will address the requirement of spatial quality and clarity in the network which will be used by contractors during the delivery of the project. The architect has devised an adaptive parametric system which creates open, light and welcoming interiors for each of the stations which will combine traditional Qatari architectural features with modern elements which capture daylight for the interiors creating a luminous atmosphere. The highlight of the design is the creation of different scales of identity for rail users – each of the metro lines will have a theme or local context such as Historic Line, Coastal Line, City Line etc. This will find reflection in the interior décor, and distinct wall and floor treatments.



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