Updating an icon
Huaqiangbei – Valley of Evolution & City of Dreams
Location: Shenzhen, China
Client: People’s Government of Futian District, Shenzhen
Programme: Regeneration masterplan for a 1.45 km² iconic wholesale retail area
Huaqiangbei is a Shenzhen icon. It is the place where Shenzhen tech culture manifests itself in the most striking way. In the last 30 years the area has seen a transformation from early sweatshop factories to ‘the’ electronic parts wholesale market of the world. With Shenzhen rapidly changing its character from a production city to a knowledge center, Huaqiangbei is transforming as well.
The masterplan for Huaqiangbei uses the unique Shenzhen identity of the place and extends it into the future. Using the organisational principle of the computer’s motherboard, different functional units are allocated in the area – education, business service, education, r&d, incubation and – still – wholesale and consumer consumption.
A series of new ‘sensors’ and plugins add these uses and elevate the relatively flat and low area into the third dimension, turning it into an iconic ‘supercomputer’. These plugins also question traditional program allocation. A vertical factory offers new types of production space on higher floors. A cloud academy offers lifelong learning and education right on top of the maker environment of the old Huaqiangbei.
The plan also introduces open and public space to account for the change in use patterns and to add quality spaces into the utilitarian landscape of the old HQB. A green axis and electronic avenue offer a natural and an urban centrality. The character of the area is emphasized by electronics experience spaces and nodes that allow for the testing and getting to know latest technology.
With its flexible layout, the transformation can be implemented step by step – gradually transforming an icon that has aged into the icon of the future.
2018 concept masterplan
2019 masterplan development
MLA+: Markus Appenzeller, Ruizhi Cao, Ruixin Chen, Ivana Damjanovic, Kexin Huang, Alex Lee, Martin Probst, Xiaolu Sun, Ruojing Wu