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RMJM RED have been appointed as the lead design architects for the Deli Mixed-use Development in Ningbo, China. RMJM RED were invited by the client to enter the competition for the project, which was chosen amongst other projects by other high profile international firms.

A City within a city: Terracing Oasis

The two office towers and the podium commercial pavilions form an integrated complex containing an open central square, reflecting the sense of openness within the three-dimensional structure of a city that keeps evolving. The connections to the urban environment and the project’s various functions create a miniature city within a city. A shared landscape platform intertwines with the various built elements on each podium level, softening the urban ambience by reducing noise and introducing terracing greenery where urban meets nature and the city bustle collides with the forest tranquillity. This urban oasis will flourish in harmony with the adjacent central park, moving from season to season with the temperate local climate and allowing for the creation of a visual connection between the central green axis and these landscape platforms.

Prime Position

The Deli Mixed-Use development is located in the heart of Ningbo’s Eastern New Town, a vibrant and modern district in the historical and cultural city. The site is in a prime position in the Central Business District adjacent to the Grand Central Park, in good company amongst other high-profile projects by internationally renowned architects. The area, set amongst a unique waterway network and lush green surroundings, is, at once, modern and natural. Adjacent to Ningdong Road, the main urban road in the north, it faces the Ningbo Global Shipping Plaza.  Chengyuan Road is to the east, Jiahui Street to the south, and Changle Road to the west. It is well-connected to all modes of transportation.

The project has been designed to represent the spirit of the Deli Group and to reflect their vision of a distinctive commercial destination that is based on sensible first principles. We worked closely with the client to explore a variety of scenarios and the final scheme is testament to that shared exploration.

Brenda Ye | Executive Director

A Balanced Unity

The tower placement takes a staggered approach with the two towers situated on opposing corners to ensure each tower has access to open views, daylight and ventilation. The two human-scaled commercial pavilions are placed in the opposite corners. These four building elements are intertwined to create an interactive development within a tranquil setting. A central plaza brings people together for business and leisure. The retail and office functions can operate independently whilst the central space serves as a focal point, unifying the various functions into an integrated mixed-use complex.

A Garden Atmosphere

A central plaza extends to the natural landscape of central park on the east, making it an open landscape park permeating west to east. This activated axis, rich and interactive with the terracing landscape and is framed by retail functions and the main entrance to the main tower. The podium form is expressed with an organic language that makes for a natural street-level atmosphere as if one were visiting a garden. Three sculpted podium levels allow the formal urban grid to transition into a lush central oasis that echoes the central park to the east. The greenery continues upwards through the landscape platforms at the podium levels to the sky garden of the towers, offering the users a fleeting moment of reflection and reconnection with nature from their otherwise busy city lives.

The context is very much urban, but there is a strong underlying fabric of nature woven into that. The challenge was to strike a balance between the rational and the poetic. The commercial demands called for considerable rigour, but the success of the project lies in the team’s ability to imbue the project with natural characteristics.

Chee Ko | Design Director

Sky garden workspace

The tower volumes are 150m and 100m tall and are composed to work harmoniously with the existing skyline of the financial and business district. The main tower is located on the northeast side of the site, adjacent to the Ningdong Road and facing the central park to the east. It is designated for headquarters-type tenancies, with the office function beginning on the 6th floor and the retail facilities on the lower levels. 

The tower has indoor garden office space on the 6-10th floor that overlooks the central park to the southeast. The 11th, 21st, and 26th floors consist of outdoor terraces, allowing for an extension of the green landscape from the ground to the low, middle and high levels of the tower. Occupants have access to a variety of spaces they can use to enhance their working day: they can enjoy views of the city from different heights and perspectives whilst the city’s population can have a greener built environment. The secondary tower is located southwest of the site, adjacent to Changle Road and Jiahui Road. Its office facilities start on the 4th floor. There is a double-height outdoor terrace on the 19th and 20th floors that responds to the central park. The interior space can be used as a special tenancy with a unique office and communication space.

Spirit of humility

The design of tower facades, similar to the overall design, follows a sensible and elegant rhythm and reflects a spirit of reliability and humility. The facade texture of the main building and the secondary building is slightly different. The office tower is principally composed of simple and vertically continuous elements while the second building is clad in staggered and dynamic vertical features, creating a coordinated but differentiated contemporary expression. The podium façade highlights its flowing volumes with warm-toned accented glass that adds to the vibrant street-level atmosphere. Ningbo is a growing metropolis and a migrant city where rural graduates and young families will migrate to join the growing urban economy. Such green spaces in the heart of the city will offer them a connection with home.

Project Team

Andrew Kim, Brenda Ye, Charmaine Yau, Chee Ko, Fish Yap, Hang Mu, Henry Wu, Jason Leung, Mike Morgan, Peggy Tang, Pietro Peciccia, Robert Munz, Ryan Zhao and Thomas Cheng

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