Diamond Hill Mixed-Use Development Plan Sees The Light


5+design, a Hollywood-based architecture firm, announced plans this week for Diamond Hill, which is a massive mixed-use project in Shenyang, China. The project will feature residential, office and retail spaces built on top of a fully integrated transportation hub.

The transportation hub will connect Shenyang’s regional mass transit network with a transportation interchange that includes a bus depot and a LRT station on Diamond Hill’s ground level. This will ensure greater connectivity for the city and create convenient access for visitors as well as attracting young home owners who rely on public transport.

The design for Diamond Hill was inspired by the mountains of traditional Chinese landscape paintings, and evolved from the mapping of sunlight on the site. As a result, 5+design was able to create a layered design that met strict local code requirements regarding sun and shadow in residential buildings.

Project designer Ramon Hone said that 5+design are happy to play a key role in such a large development that is important to the region.

“In China there are code ordinances that require each residential building to receive a minimum of two hours of sunshine on the shortest day of the year,” said Mr Hone.

“This means that buildings nearby must be designed so as not to block the sun. The difficulty with this project is that there was a seven floor-to-area ratio, which means you can build seven times the area of the site, but a height restriction allowed us to only build 100 metres high.

“So the only way to rationalise the design with the restrictions was to run the sun study. We analysed the sun’s path on the site and we extruded volumes from the site to the maximum height that they could go without breaking the height limit and without infringing on the sun path. The resultant mass was then shaped into Diamond Hill.”

The building will feature 77,000 square metres of residential with 23,000 square metres designated for SOHO lofts that will cater to a younger demographic. There will be 42,000 square metres of office space, and 74,000 square metres of retail.

The centre of the project is hollowed out, leaving a donut-like perimeter of residences, which means that appropriate widths for all three building types were met while concurrently maintaining the sun-code requirements.

The building’s profile, reminiscent of a mountain, was created by trimming away areas of the project that blocked sun access to residences, giving the project a radically different look and feel from all sides.

Office and residential buildings, whose dramatic profiles echo snow-capped peaks and fertile valleys, will surround the four-storey shopping centre. A roof garden and large skylights to protect against the Laoning province’s severe winters will sit atop the shopping centre.

“Due to the severity of the climate where the project is located, Diamond Hill has required a great deal of pre-design analysis which has affected the final form,” said 5+design Managing Partner, Michael Ellis.

“It’s exciting to take a project with so many restrictions and shape it into a cohesive and dynamic place which will become a new destination in Shenyang.”

The materials used in the project will further enhance the landscape metaphor, with exteriors featuring alternating panels of glass and porcelain, evoking textured layers of sedimentary rock. In the middle of the project, the atrium is symbolic of a pristine lake, with skylights of translucent and fritted glass – like a series of mountain lakes – allowing light to filter down through all floors.

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