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Aedas-Designed C FutureCity in Shenzhen – a Lodestar of Future Urban Lifestyle Centre

Aedas has taken up the role of architect and urban planner for the largest urban renewal project in Shenzhen, setting up a new model for future cities.

C FutureCity is located in Shangsha Village in Futian, Shenzhen, where winding alleys, thronged roads and crowded buildings are commonplace in this site with over 800 years of history.  As population grows drastically in the past 30 years, the pressure for infrastructure support becomes increasingly palpable, and Aedas is poised to transform this place on a sweeping scale. 

Less than 2.5 kilometers away from the financial street in Shenzhen Futian CBD, the project is ten-minute drive from the intercity rail station that connects the city to Hong Kong in the south. Overlooking the mangrove nature reserve across the street in the south, C FutureCity is in an incontrovertibly favourable position, surrounded by accessible public transportation and rich landscape resources.

The massive site is developed in two phases: Phase 1 includes high-rise twin office towers and residential towers to form a live-work complex that attracts talents and residents; while Phase 2 comprises residential, retail, entertainment, cultural and exhibition components. Introducing modern lifestyles to the residents with emphasis on both functionality and green-living,  the design also seeks to conserve village folk culture and revitalize the area by consolidating the mélange of business formats.

"The ‘future’ in C FutureCity envisions a distant time as we approach the design through the perspectives of the environment and communities therein, anticipating problems and resolving them with forward-looking solutions." said Aedas Chairman and Global Design Principal Keith Griffiths.

The second phase celebrates three overarching themes—nature, technology and art. Aedas brings together global design forces and convenes more than ten senior Design Directors in a “Think Tank” Workshop to conclude the design. The fruits of this think tank workshop are 7 idiosyncratic single-family pavilions along the retail street, coalescing as a tourist mecca.

The historical Huanggong Temple is on the southwest side of the plot. In an effort to preserve the legacy of this oldest ancestral hall in Shenzhen, the design emulates the original spatial scale, reserves the adjacent banyan tree, and transforms a past social space into an open market. Integrating advanced building materials, LED technology and installation art by world-renowned multimedia artists, it will create a unique visual focus and a futuristic appearance. As Aedas Executive Director Chris Chen explains, “the Ancestral Hall is the soul of the entire Phase 2. The entire design stems from the Ancestral Hall to create a living space integrating residence, shopping, entertainment, leisure, and nature.”  

Surrounding the Banyan Market, the team also created the Dancing Water Pavilion and the Mirror Box. The undulating facade of the former presents an illusion of a fluttering water curtain; supported by artificial waterfalls below, it paints a picture of a bucolic xanadu. The mirror box structure combines elements of the ancestral hall and the banyan tree. The jagged cubes above are abstracted from the volume of the ancestral hall, and the pillars below are like banyan trees. The beautiful scenery is reflected on the mirror facade, blending artlessly into the environment.

The bookstore at the west entrance takes rock element as the blueprint for its outline, and draws inspiration from the opened pages for the facade, engineering curvilinear folds on the building volume; with linear lighting, a three-dimensional sculpture effect is projected. The sports flagship store is located at the entrance of the retail street, where it takes the form of a triangular prism. Erected in the spirit of festivity is the clock tower composed of LED glass on which nuances of lighting effects flicker; when it is festival season, a gorgeous light show can be performed.

Taking the spirit of the mangrove nature reserve and the ecological square, the design introduces a restaurant premised on birds and forests and nestled at the centre of the development. The building is shaped as a colossal bird's nest with an open green space at the crown. 

"The touchstone of the design for C FutureCity is how we converse with the future and render a unique shopping experience that advances the development of the city.” professed Leon Liang, Executive Director of Aedas. Introducing advanced media technology, combined with artistic architectural and landscape design, the pavilions bring forth a vibrant destination, activating community and leading the leisure development of the city.

The pavilions are also key nodes of connectivity, providing visual guidance and multiple access to the retail podiums and the high-rise residential towers sitting atop. The multi-storey commercial podiums are designed as a divider between public and private space, as the podium rooftop transformed into a garden laden with verdant plants. The acre of green space eclipses the hustle and bustle, ensuring a tranquil atmosphere for residents.

Green terraces, sky bridges, and elevated walkways are set between podiums to form a three-dimensional 24-hour pedestrian system, enhancing accessibility and integrity between the two phases of the development. At underground level, the two phases are seamlessly connected to the Shangsha Metro Station; a number of sunken plazas are also created to bring natural light into the underground and provide more public space. The porous space accommodates the flow of people from all corners and imbues fluidity and vitality throughout the development.   

At present, the twin tower office in Phase 1 has topped out and entered the curtain wall installation phase while the second phase is under construction. 

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Shenzhen, CN
Firm Role: Masterplanning, Design& Project Architect