The brief was to design a six-storey retail and entertainment complex overlooking the road connecting the city’s central business district to its continuously expanding periphery. The challenge was to speculate on how the building could respond in a context devoid of character and scale. The building idealises breaking away from the notion of the urban container that necessitates the boxing of the individual entertainment and commercial units.
The project was visualised as floating amorphous geometries, resigned from constraints of an envelope yet unified by the transition between these volumes. The idea was to create a sequence of spaces either completely open or completely enclosed. The fragmented size and large voids accentuate the heterogeneity of its urban setting. The location and form of these volumes result from a series of forces acting on each other – a complex overlap of sight lines, building code requirements and the aspiration to integrate with its neighbourhood.
The simple floor plans vary through the six floors depending on the form of the volume, size and orientation. Retail outlets, offices and food courts occupy the three lower floors. Movie theatres are covered but not enclosed. Art galleries and small-scale restaurants have panoramic views on the upper levels. Open ramps connec different levels of the buildingand create a ceremonial experience.
The building is characterised by the use of pour-in-place concrete and defined by a series of shaded terraces that allow a continuous movement of air – a place in shade, so crucial for buildings in warm climates. The permeability of these spaces instils in the user a sense of place that weaves them into the broader urban fabric.