The retail mall is a considered response by architectural practice LWK + PARTNERS.
With culture and wellness as the central themes, this new community shopping center rests next to the Wulitang River in the West Lake district in Hangzhou, China. It offers diverse leisure and wellness facilities spread across interlocking spaces, which are also well integrated with the critical essence of ancient Hangzhou's Hui-style architecture, embodying a sense of simplicity, elegance, and preserved heritage.
Zijing Paradise Walk has recently been recognized as RLI Most Anticipated Opening 2020 at the Global RLI Awards, which celebrates the most visionary and innovative retail and leisure concepts from across the globe. Its architectural concept also won a bronze award from the prestigious 12th International Design Award in 2018.
The retail mall's overall design captures the elegance and conciseness of traditional Hui-style architecture with playful modern designs.
Ferdinand Cheung, Director at LWK + PARTNERS and the lead designer of the project, explained, "Our building harmonizes with the environment with a subdued palette of façade materials, patterns and silhouettes reminiscent of historic Hangzhou architecture."
The shaved roofs mimic the iconic Hangzhou-style top while cantilevering and shifting forms create multi-layers of 'hanging courtyards,' resembling breakout spaces in traditional Chinese housing. Hui-style architecture is known for its stark white walls, given a fresh remake at the project through silvery façades. Extra-thin aluminum panels are primarily used in the façades, creating staggered patterns with a natural unevenness resembling ancient brickworks.
A bold interplay of solid and void is present throughout the mall. There are vertical façade openings inspired by sifted shadows characteristic of Chinese gardens, offering an impressive visual and spatial experience.
Health and wellness are at the heart of Zijing Paradise Walk's design, which also involves living in harmony with nature to motivate local people to interact with green spaces.
The architectural design supports communal activities and improves life quality for those who live or work in the area. Its ground floor plazas, tai chi garden, upper-level terraces, indoor basketball courts, and outdoor jogging trails are all highly accessible and imbued with greenery. Cantilevered forms provide generous sheltered space along pedestrian sidewalks, serving as comfortable buffer zones during the summer and rainy days.
Ample sunlight is brought in through a series of skylights, façade openings, and a sunken courtyard, highlighting nature as part of our daily life. The project also makes connections with the riverside park to encourage people's engagements with nature.
Since its opening in early 2020, Zijing Paradise Walk has become a social destination for the community, forging connections with local people by celebrating traditional culture, natural surroundings, and modern city life. "It caters to people's basic needs while offering multiple experiential recreational facilities, pushing the envelope for wellness-driven retail and promoting an active lifestyle in the neighborhood," said Ferdinand.