The Luwan neighborhood (which later merged with the Huanpu District) is located directly south of the People’s Square plaza in Shanghai, China. Luwan is part of the French Concession area, famous for its Plane Tree-lined boulevards. This project was a collaboration with project lead Safdie Architects and artist Ned Kahn to develop a new retail complex and office tower in this prestigious neighborhood. 


The landscape strategy focuses on a multi-dimensional outdoor experience, featuring expansive rooftop terraces at the retail complex and office tower, interior garden rooms, and innovative ground-level public plazas and streetscapes.  The rooftop includes a verdant outdoor restaurant space with significant views of the glass dome terminating the retail complex.  Atop the adjacent tower is a flexible entertainment space with swimming pool, seating terraces, and lush gardens. From each of these spaces, visitors are offered unparalleled views to the streetscape below and the surrounding urban context.


At the ground level, the streetscape design seeks to evoke a sense of history, pattern, and movement. Given the neighborhood’s history, the concept calls for a new generation of Plane Trees to be planted at the boulevard and for abstract, patterned pavement that recalls both its mottled bark and the stippled movement of the artist-designed architectural façade. Within the site, subtle two-way mirrors reveal a vine wall backdrop, capturing reflections of the adjacent seating areas and the façade, while blurring the perception of built and natural form.


LOCATION: Luwan, Shanghai

COLLABORATORS: Safdie Architects, Ned Kahn

SIZE: 348,480 SF/ 8 Acres (32,400 m2 / 3.2 hectares)