Zhejiang Gate Towers form an iconic entrance to the
city of Hangzhou, the capital and most populous city of
Zhejiang Province in east China. LAVA was commissioned
by Hangzhou-based Shimao in 2014 to masterplan the
mixed-use development, which comprises five buildings
housing offices, residential and retail space.
Our masterplan features fluid building masses, improved
positioning of the towers from different viewing
directions, logical pedestrian movement and the removal
of cars from the complex. Central to the project are two
280m-high towers (the tallest structures in Hangzhou).
A third 90m-tall building and two pavilions are placed
around the central public space. The third tower structure
was designed for flexible use for offices or housing,
and optimises the ratio of facade surface and volume
contained. A large roof garden is oriented in the direction
of a future development to the south of the towers.
A canopy connects the two towers at the base, and a
fluid landscape connects all five buildings, creating
seamless pedestrian movement.
The design of the two towers is based on the Chinese
characters for gate. The development is located at a major
interchange into the city so we wanted to create an iconic
gateway to Hangzhou. Using our extensive view studies
we positioned the tower ensemble so it is recognisable
as a twin structure, a gate, from both near and far.
The towers feature a shimmering facade of fins. The
interaction of light and glazing is central to the effect
produced, creating a dynamic and changing skin. The
facade is articulated as two groups of long vertical fins
wrapped around the buildings. Fluid lines create zones
within the tower elevations, while different colours of
Changing faces: expressive glazing
Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA, outlines the concept for a new Hangzhou landmark, where the glass structural
elements refract light and create a fluid facade
Right: the towers’ appearance
will change continually
Below: the shimmering facade
of fins is the towers’ final layer