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.
To achieve this the project was visualized as floating amorphous geometries, resigned from constraints of an envelope yet unified by transition between these volumes. The idea was to create a sequence of spaces either completely open or completely enclosed. The fragmented volume 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 overlapping of sight lines, building code requirements and the aspiration to integrate with its neighborhood.
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 lower three floors. Movie theatres are covered but not enclosed art galleries; small-scale restaurants with panoramic views are located on the upper levels. Open ramps connecting different levels of the building make movement through the building a ceremonial experience.
The building is characterised by use of pour-in-place concrete and defined by series of shaded terraces that allow uninterrupted movement of air – a place in the shade, so crucial for buildings in warm climates. The permeability of these spaces instills in the user a sense of place that weaves him into the larger urban fabric.