UNStudio’s Ballsy Move: Hanjie Wanda Square Mall Completed in Wuhan, China

Architecture, International
Friday, January 3, 2014
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Main entrance and facade covered in steel spheres (Courtesy UNStudio, Edmon Leong)

Construction has recently been completed on UNStudio’s Hanjie Wanda Square, a new luxury shopping center in Wuhan, China.  The firm boldly coated the exterior of the building in over 42,333 metallic spheres, bestowing a fluidity to the facade that extends into the interior of the structure.  There, curved walkways and corridors flow together in order to carry shoppers throughout the upscale retail stores, catering outlets, and movie theaters within the center.

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The mall’s interior (Courtesy UNStudio, Edmon Leong)

North and South atria anchor the inside of the building, the former bedecked in gold and bronze tones, while silver and reflective materials pervade the latter.  These elements are purported to speak to a “cultural traditional identity” and “city identity and urban rhythm” respectively.  Each opening is capped by a large skylight.

Each steel ball-bearing houses an LED light that projects multiple colors onto a laminated glass surface that cloaks the building.  The facade thus acts as a canvas for the numerous effects generated by the combination of colored light and pattern.  Such dynamism echoes the the approach adopted by UNStudio in other projects the firm has undertaken in KoreaTaiwan, and Bejing.

Wanda Square will soon be joined by other UNStudio projects cropping up throughout China.  While the firm initially established a Shanghai location in order to aid in the development of its Raffles City Development in Hangzhou, the once temporary branch has been transformed into a fully operational extension of the Amsterdam-based office.  The completion of the mall comes in the wake of recent competition wins for the pavilion for the 2014 Horticultural World Expo in Qingdao and a large-scale multi-use development in Bejing within the coming years.

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Floor-plan with North and South atria visible (Courtesy UNStudio)

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The shifting light patterns of the facade (Courtesy UNStudio, Edmon Leong)

UNStudio’s design for the World Horticultural Expo 2014

UNStudio’s design for the World Horticultural Expo 2014 (Courtesy UNStudio)

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