MVRDV has begun work on the Shum Yip Women & Children’s Centre, renovating a mixed-use building that hosts the offices of the Women’s Federation (a multi-purpose institution for the development of women and children) alongside a hotel, a shopping mall, and a “discovery hall” for children. With its colourful façade and green rooftops, the building is a refreshing presence in Shenzhen’s Futian district; more importantly, at 100 metres tall, the building sets an important precedent for repurposing buildings in a city that is soon to see a “great wave of adaptive reuse”.
Constructed during the first period of Shenzhen’s explosive growth, the building never functioned effectively in its previous form. Working in a public-private partnership, the Women’s Federation and Shum Yip Group initially planned only to replace the façade, but eventually appointed MVRDV to create a more comprehensive transformation including a garden on the plinth-level rooftop, new circulation elements, and a redesign of key interiors.
MVRDV’s design adds a grid of multi-coloured exterior frames to the building that dramatically increases the façade’s depth, providing extra shading to improve the comfort level inside and the thermal performance of the building. The colours are used to communicate the building’s internal layout; the plinth is more colourful in order to delight people at street level, and to reference the building’s function as an education and health centre for mothers and their children. The tower, which hosts a hotel in its upper floors and offices for the Shenzhen Women & Children Affairs Committee in its lower levels, is mostly white. Colours are also used to highlight features such as entrances, providing a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.
The design transforms the central courtyard of the building, which was previously used for car parking, into a public food courtyard with a number of retail spaces and outdoor entertainment facilities for children. The access to this inner courtyard is totally barrier-free, making the building a public venue for the city. The roofs of the plinth are used for green outdoor spaces, with one side of the building becoming an event space and the other used as an educational playground for children. The roofs and courtyard are strongly connected, with new external staircases added to allow easy movement between the two, and even a slide to bring some joy to getting around the building.
Inside, the design also transforms the two main lobbies of the building. One of these lobbies is dedicated to the hotel and the Women & Children’s Centre offices, and the other to the children’s Discovery Hall. These interior spaces bring the colour and liveliness of the building’s façade inside. The office and hotel lobby includes a colourful vertical puzzle that houses educational and entertaining activities for the children. The lobby of the Discovery Hall provides a more calming atmosphere with its subdued tones, while openings punched into the shelves display fun features to capture the children’s imaginations. Alongside the rooftop event space, the design also adds a 200-seat auditorium to turn the building into a hub for sharing knowledge.
The tower crown will feature a large accessible terrace offering a 360-degree panorama of the neighbourhood below. Visitors will be able to appreciate the structure, which stems from the tower core outwards: a vaulted wall featuring the work of a local female artist. Even from afar, the tower crown will become one of the most recognizable icons of Shenzhen.
深圳自上世纪80年代间成为经济特区后，其增长速度几乎超过了世界上任何一座城市，彼时落地的很多建筑到今天不能继续满足城市发展的要求。而深圳妇儿大厦的改造，向我们展示了存量建筑另一种可能的未来。“了解深圳的城市发展史后，我们看到了适应性再利用的巨大潜力。”MVRDV创始合伙人Jacob Van Rijs 补充道，“我们也非常荣幸，能够通过妇儿大厦的改造来展示城市更新的优势和乐趣。”
“Our design for the Shum Yip Women & Children’s Centre shows what is possible in these buildings that are reaching the end of a fairly short initial lifespan”, says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “Retaining and improving a building is more sustainable than demolishing and building anew, and that is especially true when the building contains as much concrete as this one, a 100-metre tower with a voluminous plinth at its base.”
Project Name: Shum Yip Women & Children’s Centre
Location: Futian District, Shenzhen, China
Client: Shum Yip Group Limited
Size and Programme: 57,900m2 – Women & Children’s Centre, Offices, Hotel, Retail
Founding Partner in charge: Jacob van Rijs
Partner: Wenchian Shi
Design Team: Jacob van Rijs, Wenchian Shi, Lorenzo Mattozzi, Marco Gazzola, Giuseppe Mazzaglia, Daehee Suk, Sen Yang, Fredy Fortich, Chi Zhang, Siyi Pan, Bertrand Tan, Enrica Perrot, Martina Franco, Fokke Moerel, Pim Bangert, Giovanni Nardi, Jiameng Li, Agnieszka Dabek, Paula Vargas Torres, Peter Chang, Luca Xu, Hong Yang, Echo Zhai, Zhang Ruochen
Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Angelo La Delfa, Pavlos Ventouris, Francesco Vitale, Luana La Martina, Jaroslaw Jeda, Emanuele Fortunati
Director MVRDV Asia: Steven Smit
Project coordination: Jammy Zhu
MVRDV NEXT: Boudewijn Thomas
Images: © MVRDV
Copyright: MVRDV 2021 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Frans de Witte, Fokke Moerel, Wenchian Shi, Jan Knikker)
Co-architect / Landscape architect / MEP: SZAD (Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Co. Ltd.)
Project coordination: Shenzhen Women & Children's Building Operation and Management Co.,Ltd.
Facade Consultant: KGE (King Glass Engineering)
Structural engineer: Yuanlizhu Engineering Consultants (Shenzhen) Co.,Ltd.
Lighting Consultant: BPI (Brandston Partnership Inc.)
Cost calculation: Jinxia Property Cost Consultation Co.,Ltd.
Interior architect: Jiang & Associates