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323-meter landmark reflects steep mountains in Changsha

Aedas-designed 323-meter Changsha Jinmao Tower out stands at the heart of newly planned Changsha CBD, the first national new area in mid central region of China. As a visual focal point along the central axis of the cityscape, the tower faces main roads on the west, overlooking the Meixi Lake well-known in Changsha. The biggest challenge is to distill iconic elements of Changsha that best represent its history of over 1,000 years. Designers endeavor to align client’s positioning with an iconic design, which enables integration with the surrounding environment whilst avoiding interference among the high-rise clusters nearby.

 “An architectural landmark must be contextually created. It has to interact with local surroundings, and to connect with its culture, environment and history. Direct imitation and replication would not work. It is meaningless to imitate something of the past.” Aedas Global Design Principal Dr. Andy Wen selected geomorphological features the best represent Changsha. He takes cue from the unique local mountainscape, to outline contour of the tower by curves of the steep and rocky peaks. Resonating with Mexi Lake and Gwangjing Island nearby, Dr. Andy Wen has reflected a miniature of Changsha - “a city of mountain and water”.

The design depicts the local mountainous landscape in a modern approach. The tower is divided into four rectangles in a staggered layout, framing dynamic reflections of cityscape. Such design also fully utilises its internal space, and maximises views within. Four staggered square volumes are set on top of tower to house different functions, alluding to multiple layers of the local rocky peaks. The podium is formed in stone-framed glasses, reminiscent of rocks protruding between mountain peaks.  The overall tower design complements the natural landscape of Changsha, to convey an iconic architectural statement.

A huge LED screen adds a modern touch to the conceptual statement of traditional mountainscape. Like a glowing pearl, the champagne-colored screen decorates the adjacent Meixi Lake. Like an urban lighthouse, the screen displays varying lighting effects over time. It echoes with the art center sitting on the east of Meixi Lake, to showcase the unique cultural character of Changsha.

Facade design pays tribute to the “old streets of Changsha”, and integrates itself with local culture. The design team researched comprehensively on the old streets, then extracted key elements - classic vertical lines, arcades and balconies, to be embedded into the façade expression of tower and podium. Such design values local and cultural heritage with modernity.

Designers take careful considerations on both the surrounding environment and commercial values. Office tower and retail podium are zoned independently. The tower is located at southeast of the plot to optimize exposure, whilst the LED lighting screen and key elevation are oriented to the east, overlooking the Meixi Lake. The podium sits at sides of west and north. It adjoins the main street and public transportation systems, and thus maximise value of the retail façade. The central square is enclosed by the tower and podium, and it is connected with the landscape architecture south of the site. This welcoming placemaking provides multiple green spaces for leisure.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Changsha
Firm Role: Design and Project Architect