Fuzhou Wusibei Thaihot Plaza‘s central location at WuSi Bei Dajie, Jinan District makes it Fuzhou’s most successful retail mall. Its design enhanced Thaihot’s brand as a forward thinking innovative retail developer. SPARK’s design entwines the plaza, the street and the mall interior into a continuous circulation route that transforms the building into a living entity full of movement and energy. 12-hour daytime retail activities are concentrated in a 7-level shopping mall from which routes to the rooftop are carved out. Here various activities such as full service dining and cinema effectively create 24-hour traffic-free streets and squares attracting visitors not only to shop but also enjoy as a new social and entertainment destination.
The many facets of the building exist to serve different functions in plan and the building facade. Easing the edges of the building in plan increases sightlines into the pedestrian street, which helps draws people in. Unlike some straight streets that shoot pedestrians quickly through, an undulating tenant facade facilitates the natural ebb and flow of pedestrian traffic, creating a dynamic shopping experience.
Colour shifting aluminium panels on the facade creates an exterior appearance that is constantly changing. While most panels are the building skin, select facets serve key visual functions such as illuminated signage boxes, advertisements, and three LED screens. At night, perforations in the aluminium panels allow light to pass through to create a starry night effect.
The typical mall typology locates functions such as cinemas & KTV at upper levels of malls. These functions operate into the early hours of the morning long past the closing time of other retail facilities necessitating the public to navigate a difficult journey down out of darkened non air conditioned space.
To mitigate this dilemma, Fuzhou Wusibei Thaihot Plaza has two complementary circulation routes, a 12 hour day route and a 24 hour route. Retail programs that operate in the day are consolidated into a shopping mall podium typology (12hour). Circulation routes and terraces are carved out of the podium facilitating access to the roof top where there are a variety of activities such as miniature golf and full service dining can be found(24 hour).
When the normal shopping functions have closed, customers are provided with an alternate route lined with shops and terraces snaking along the podium façade (24 hour). This route is further animated by its adjacency to the pedestrian street. The entire north facade becomes a living entity full of movement and energy.
On a rare occasion, chipping away at a stone will lead to the discovery of a cavernous core lined with mineral deposits exploding with radiant colour and light. The experience of entering Spark’s proposed mall in Fuzhou is equally dazzling as a voluminous atrium filled with vibrant colour and light greets the visitor.
As an extension of the faceted façade a crystalline LED advertisement gem hovers over the atrium concierge as the visual focal point upon entering the mall. The pristine white interior atrium is accentuated by colour highlights on the escalators which are sculpturally composed in the middle of the atrium. Linear LED light chandeliers sit over the interior events plaza. Back lit floor peepholes strew across the atrium bridges like scattered jewels as a playful addition to the space, attracting curious onlookers.
Photography is by Shu He
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