Hangar 41

Hangar 41

Denver, CO


Zhongyou Shanghai

Zhongyou Shanghai is a proposed five-star hotel and shopping center in Shanghai, China, by Hangar 41, LLC, with LLG International for an invitation-only international design competition in 2012.  Just south of Shanghai’s Pudong district, this site has a direct connection to the historic watertown Xinchang on the canal to the west. Throughout the project, the circulation paths and site geometry evolved out of the notion of a zigzagging or meandering pathway derived from traditional watertowns’ gardens and pathways. Meandering circulation through the site creates dynamic interactions and allows for exploration around corners and sightline intersections to views of retail spaces, the main hotel structure, conference center, and interstitial green spaces.  Functionally, the geometry of the main hotel tower is a product of the desire to provide views all around the site from not only the guest rooms but also the lobbies and circulation spaces. By peeling back the living wings of the building, the internal spaces of the tower can be naturally lit and provide interest and a procession for the guests entering their quarters. These views showcase the prominent retail spaces below, inviting visitors to explore and shop.  The formal geometry was inspired by the region's traditional economy of silk and salt production.  The salt crystal is scalable - from micro to macro it possesses a repeating fractal rectilinear geometry that informed the final geometry of the tower and based on that, the site layout.  Silk was a very secretive industry and a source of mystery portraying wealth and luxury for thousands of years. Very basic elements of the philosophy of Feng Shui are governed by the idea of constantly renewing a particular site with good energy or "Chi". Natural elements that provide this renewal of Chi are generated by nature's movement through a meandering river, and more recently by roads. Paths that move goods or people and provide resources are good sources of Chi, especially where two or more of these paths intersect.   Related to this traditional view of renewing Chi on the site are obstacles that the Chi must navigate to keep it on the site longer. Having hills and mountains to bounce Chi back into the building is good, and meandering paths for Chi to follow also keeps it around longer. Paired with keeping good energy on site is the belief of "shaking off" bad energy. Meandering paths release the negative energy and provide an ever evolving procession of views for visitors to enjoy as they move throughout the environment.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Shanghai, China
My Role: Designed for Hangar 41 by Mark Raeburn (Principal), Ed Murray, and Dave Swanson