Architecture firm Benoy has won an international competition to design a 300,000 square metre, mixed-use project in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou for one of China’s biggest developers, the UK-based company announced today.
The project, COFCO Joy Breeze, integrates a shopping centre, retail streets, and public transport links. Benoy’s design calls for a retail, recreation and entertainment complex that offers a variety of spaces, with different sections linked by multi-level walkways running through each floor of the scheme.
The global design firm beat out several rivals for the architecture and masterplanning mandate, the company said in a statement. The new appointment extends Benoy’s partnership with the mall development arm of China’s COFCO Group, after the firm was previously appointed to design COFCO’s Joy City development in Hangzhou, eastern China, a 130,000 square urban complex combining retail, office and residential uses.
Confucius Inspires Design for Suzhou Retail Hub
“Our brief was to create a major commercial opportunity on this site as well as capture the interest of the district’s 25 to 45 year-old community,” commented Qin Pang, director and head of Benoy’s Shanghai Studio in a statement on the Suzhou project. “We were inspired by a passage from the Analects of Confucius which speaks of former eras and the feeling of enjoyment in the springtime. Our design has aimed to evoke these feelings and memories of happy spring days spent exploring new places.”
Retail developer Joy City launched its new mall brand Joy Breeze last December, which targets middle-class families aged 25 to 45 – an older crowd than the developer’s other malls, which are typically aimed at the 18-to-25 cohort.
Slated to start construction next year, COFCO Joy Breeze is located in the centre of Suzhou’s urban Xiangcheng district, near the entrance to the city’s future central park. The property nearby the Longdaobang Station of Metro Line 4 will include a bus station terminal on site.
Benoy’s design strives to integrate the development with the surrounding urban landscape and residential areas, via an open scheme scheme with multiple entry points and abundant street frontage. “We’ve paid attention to that special element of surprise,” Qin noted. “For visitors coming day-to-day to do their shopping or meet with friends, each visit will bring a new experience.”
Benoy Continues Winning Streak
Just last month, Benoy won a competition to serve as architect and masterplanner for the Yuqiao Science Innovation Centre in Shanghai, working with Shanghai Lujiazui Group Co to craft the 367,000 square metre research and commercial facility focussing on artificial intelligence development. Elsewhere in the Yangtze River Delta, Benoy is leading the redevelopment of a set of century-old warehouses into a new community hub in Nanjing.
Benoy’s partner in the Suzhou and Hangzhou projects, state-owned conglomerate COFCO announced last month its RMB 14.5 billion ($2.3 billion) residential property arm COFCO Property would buy a controlling stake in HK$18 billion ($2.4 billion) Hong Kong-listed commercial real estate developer Joy City Property.
Following the transaction, COFCO Property becomes COFCO’s sole platform covering residential and commercial real estate.