After its Shanghai studio opening in 2009, Dutch firm UNStudio monitored the construction of Raffles City in Hangzhou for 8 years. The wait ended in September 2017 when the building was finally completed. It is the largest building ever done by the studio and it might be one of their best.
Designed to be a transit hub and vertical neighborhood, Raffles City Is a 60 story complex that has established itself as a Hangzhou business district landmark. Headed by Ben Van Berkel, UNStudio said that the building will serve as the newest destination for visitors, residents and business individuals. It is built to combine leisure, business and entertainment in one single experience. The two 250 meter tall towers cover an area of nearly 400,000 square meters.
The intricate architecture of the towers is characterized by diamond-shaped perforations that accentuate the corners of the towers. Positioned across each other, the towers have an urban facade and a horizontal landscape facade that slowly lowers into the inner courtyards at podium level. Arranged in a east-west formation, overshadowing is kept to a bare minimum and both apartments and offices are bathed in sunlight.
The podium level is covered by scales of aluminum tiles that reflect people passing by. Being a shopping district, the interior has been carefully designed to complement the stunning exterior. Bamboo handrails accompany the escalators and stairs, a natural material that complements the natural, almost liquid design of the towers’ exterior. Skylights in the atrium frames allow the sunlight to enter through the two voids in the buildings.