The 750,000 sm Suzhou Wuzhong mixed-use development unifies four city blocks into a cohesive district that is intended to become a model for the surrounding area of Suzhou. Commercial, residential, hotel, retail, cultural and transit functions are woven together in a design driven by five basic goals: Create a safe, welcoming and accessible environment by encouraging pedestrian movement; offer access to various transit modes to connect the development to the city and region; propose diverse programs, combined vertically and horizontally, to provide a safe and dynamic environment 24/7; create a peaceful and enriching venue with a focus on cultural and intellectual experience; and provide the city with a traditionally reinterpreted but familiar fabric and experience.
The winning scheme for this design competition weaves commercial, residential, hotel, retail, cultural and transit components together on a four-block site, capturing the essence of Suzhou while reinterpreting it in fresh way that is appropriate for the growing, contemporary Chinese city. The inherent pedestrian character of Suzhou’s oldest district is emphasized and preserved in a variety of scales of pedestrian walkways that lace the site. At the same time, the beauty and richness of textures and materials of traditional Suzhou gardens is given new life in the proposed materiality of retail pavilions and the play of light and shadow in indoor-outdoor spaces.