The conceptual design for Yixing Dongju Far East Development as a “city above the water” was designed to the highest sustainable standards within the natural environment.
The design is a modern, floating garden development with two towers and a retail podium surrounded by a series of interconnected waterways that reference the canals that flow throughout Yixing. The development’s curving geometries extend both skyward and outward toward the city, recalling the organic form of a lily flower, whose petals rest on a larger body of water.
Anchoring the development are two towers, a mixed-use office and hotel tower and a neighboring residential tower. The towers connect to the podium roof that is covered in photovoltaic arrays, creating a compelling texture on the roof plane. Similarly, the exterior wall of the office tower features a series of shading devices made of a state-of-the-art flexible fabric, which control natural light while recalling the shapes of lily petals. The tower also has a conference center, meeting facilities, a ballroom, and a health club. At the tower’s top, an observation space and a club/restaurant offer stunning lake views.
The adjacent residential tower features a series of alternating balconies, allowing for each unit to enjoy an outdoor space and balcony view and creating another richly textured exterior façade. The shape, arrangement, and interplay of the balconies again evokes of the shape of lily petals, an influence that can be found throughout the development. The residential tower also connects directly to the retail podium.
The intersection of the three programs creates a central park space, which is active both at the ground plane and at each ascending floor. At night, the park transforms into an entertainment destination, making use of the levels of retail podium and further stepped ground planes at grade to create a dramatic theater space.
The materials used throughout the design have significant cultural and aesthetic meaning. Ceramic materials within the retail façade are reminiscent of the purple clay teapots that of the region, while traditional materials like bamboo complement modern materials like an LED media wall.
Sustainable technologies are integrated throughout the development and contribute to the organic geometric aesthetic. Passive technologies include the use of natural daylight over lighting, shading, and ventilation. Integrated photovoltaic arrays, solar hot water systems, and high-performance equipment and fixtures further contribute to the buildings’ overall sustainability.