Qingdao Shimao 52+

Qingdao, China

Shimao Group

Project Built

Architecture Concept/Schematic/

Design Development


The 52+community retail center is located in the Shimao Gong Yuan Mei Di development in the high-tech district of Qingdao, approximately 10km from the Liu Ting International Airport. The site has an area of 15,400sm with a 64,382sm building density and 67% site coverage requirements. It sits in close proximity to a vast natural wetland park and in the midst of a high density housing development. From a macro perspective, we initially suggested a ‘Town Center’ concept which allow our retail center to grow and connect to the surrounding retail parcels, gradually forming a center for the whole development in the future. Based on a traditional idea of a Mercado, a place of merchants and social gatherings, we derived at the blueprints for our design of the 52+, which is an extension of the living and social space which caters to the different needs of the community of all age groups 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

A place of market and social exchange forms community, with a group of people living in the same neighborhood having a particular characteristic in common, and a feeling of fellowship with others. The core of our design is to create spaces that emphasize and heighten a sense of community. In every known civilization there was always a place of market and social exchange, a community which has been called many different names, such as Mercado or Marketplace in Europe, Souk or Bazaar in the Middle Eastern countries, and Farmers’ Market in Asia.

However, these markets are fading quickly along with the rapid growth of the urban area which brings multitude of changes to the housing and retail industries, particularly in China. Trendy malls quickly replace traditional farmers’ market as the new shopping destination. While the quality of the merchandise and space of the malls have increase significantly, they are also deprived of localized social space and activities, and clearly lacking of the sense of community. Therefore, our goal for 52+ is to reestablish and reinforce the community attitudes in retail space which blur the lines between market and social identities.

With this basic idea of community in mind, we started laying out the plans and mapping the paths with potential nodes and spaces which encourage social interactions and experience. 

52+ will anchor one corner of the main axis of the development and establish retail dialogues with adjacent town plaza and retail village which are to be developed in the later stage. As the initial development of the overall retail master plan, 52+ will set the tone for the future Town Center. 

During the design process, we have studied and analyzed the site, and worked closely with the developer to establish the priorities and values. As a result, we have arrived at 6 major design frameworks that will define the character of the project:

1.The Lohas Loop – a continuous loop of activities around the building to promote social interactions.

2.The T axis – a marketplace-axis and a social-axis form a T circulation which connects all major entries and atrium spaces.

3.Lower Datum Interface – composition of boxes to break down the density and create more intimate human scale at the street level. 

4.Upper Datum Interface – reinforce the branding image to be clearly seen and identified from a distance.

5.The Lighthouse – a vertical element in the central space that acts as a beacon to draw attention and a connection to the roof top garden.

6.The 5th Elevation – incorporate unique branding design into the sun shading devise.

Architectural transformation:

1.37,000sm GBA above ground, with 67% FAR and 24m height limitation.

2.At the street level, a composition of smaller boxes is applied to break down the mass, organize circulations and animate spaces.

3.Pushing and pulling the boxes to create more intimate human scale and animated urban space.

4.A big box floats and cantilevers over the smaller boxes to give stronger impression from a distance.

5.Cut outs for skylights and incorporate the Lighthouse feature connecting the indoor atriums to the roof garden.

6.Incorporate the symbolic + sign into the sun shading design over the skylights.

52+ is positioned as both a community center and a retail center for the entire development, providing daily social, shopping and entertainment needs to its surrounding high dense population. 

In terms of layout, 52+ adopts a clear and simple T-circulation which connects 5 entryways to the surrounding landscaped plazas and residential gateways. The interior space is open and well lit with skylights. Decorative stairways are introduced to provide intermediate platforms for events and hang outs while strolling between floors.

Architecturally, 52+ design is simple yet robust in character. A composition of boxes in tangerine and champagne breaks the mass into intimate human scale, and blends with the greeneries to bring warmth to the urban surroundings. We hope to achieve a unique yet welcoming and approachable building.

For a bold statement, we draped the top volume of the building with a continuous and interweaving + symbol inspired by the retail brand itself. The three dimensional aluminum panels add another layer of texture and scale to the building, creating two very strong and different impressions at day and night.

52+ is turning a new page in community retail center. We abandoned the cumbersome attributes and focus only on the essentials such as space, scale and efficiency in order to achieve a retail center that fits for a community.

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