East Taihu Fashion Centre



Suzhou, China (2014-2015)
site area: 4.5ha
gross floor area: 25,925m2
type: business club, commercial, food + beverage, leisure club, media centre


The master plan creates a new overall precinct of individual yet aggregated building, in doing so it allows new lateral connections to occur across and within the island, and fosters a greater diversity of ground floor retail and commercial uses.
The design offers a complex matrix of over-lapping facilities, intertwined experiences and mutually supportive aspirations. An ‘ecology’ of living, working and relaxing in a unique and progressive design. All paths lead to the water.
Public spaces expand and shift to create a fl uid spatial system connecting across the three development sites and parks. Public life, commercial activity and movement work together across all scales, from key pedestrian spines to intimate retail arcades, and from large celebration spaces to small dining and recreation plazas.
The urban structure of this new centre is based on a connected series of private and urban spaces, ranging from private villas, dedicated fashion focused spaces and public squares to an extensive boardwalk promenade, connected by a network of pedestrian pathways inspired by the traditional ‘longtang’.
The primary urban structure of the masterplan is founded on the distinctive character derived from the adoption of the lake and water as the key urban figure.
Traditional landscaping techniques such as framed views, obstructed views and leaking views have also been employed, and inform the way the buildings are positioned and viewed in the landscape as well as the way the landscape is viewed from the buildings.
Moving between the buildings and the landscape creates pedestrian circulation and connection to courtyards, plazas and parks, connecting public spaces and the building entries. The design incorporates continuous shade and shelter, with overhanging roofs, canopies and balconies.
These techniques emphasize the difference between views and physical connections, and the effect the buildings have on the immediate landscape, creating a dramatic sequence of unfolding spaces that enrich the experience of the buildings and the views of the landscape.