Mike Hong was invited to Shanghai as master planner and principle designer for an enormously ambitious mixed use project called “Zizhu Town” in the south Shanghai River region. Located in the Minghang District, this massive project is akin to instantly creating an entire self-sustaining village. The challenge is to integrate a wide range of upscale offerings including residential, retail, offices, theatres, hotels, a science park and a University campus onto a beautiful natural site surrounded by the river and canals. The goal is to seamlessly blend the built environment, with an extensive network of landscape, water and recreational features into a unified whole. It is intended to become a showcase for ecological planning and design principles for the future.
After solving the complex programmatic requirements of the master plan, the architecture itself is Mike Hong’s unique vernacular, a subtle fusion of Modern with historical influences and flourishes. Here the influence is the glamour of old Colonial Shanghai. These historic references are expressed in a modern way in the color and detailing and the many geometric patterns in the brickwork. They will help to infuse this new construction with a sense of history and gravitas. The variety and play of shapes in the massing is very akin to an old city as it has grown over time, creating lively and animated streets, plazas, and landscaped gardens. It creates human scaled people-gathering places that draw visitors to live, recreate, dine, shop, and attend social events.