Completion Date: April 2015


Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu, Chengdu, China

Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu is the living urban heart of future Chengdu spanning approximately 114 000sqm. Set in the context of the Buddhist Daci Temple, the low-rise retail complex provides a unique mix of shopping, dining, drinking, entertainment, live-performance, and workplace in an exciting and enjoyable setting of lanes, squares, streets and courtyards. Interwoven into this master plan for urban regeneration is the strategic conservation and adaptive reuse of six traditional courtyards and building, and ancient lanes associated with ancient Daci Temple at the heart of the development. The project has evolved out of a unique retail planning concept of 'Fast Lane' and 'Slow Lane', delivering a diverse shopping and spatial experience to visitors. The 'Fast Lane' incorporates luxury brands and high-end contemporary fashion while the 'Slow Lane' comprises a line-up of outdoor diners, al fresco cafes and lifestyle stores.

A key challenge of the project was the need to respect the ancient Daci Temple and to incorporate a number of traditional courtyard structures within the development whilst meeting the city’s agenda and ambition of urban renewal and to develop an experiential shopping in China’s most lifestyle-driven city.

The project is inspired by the architectural tradition of great shopping streets, the charismatic retail buildings, colourful signage, and attractive shopfronts serve to create a vibrant atmosphere. The ground level buildings create a transparency that allows shops and restaurants to express their individual brand and identity. The project is LEED-ND Gold certified for its merits in sustainable urban development and environment friendly conservation, such as enhancing the city’s connectivity and walkability by creating lanes, plazas, square and streets.

The retail complex extends below ground into a shopping mall - arcade including other related services and is set over three stories with an area spanning around 18,000sqm.

The lower ground project brief required an innovative approach challenging a new way of designing a shopping mall, setting it apart from conventional, indistinct configurations and formula. The scheme stems from the considerations that modern shopping malls have to change the way they currently function and the role they perform in peoples’ lives, becoming a hub for urban lifestyle that includes work, play, eat and shop. The project introduces a fresh design approach and creates a distinctive identity of different spaces and forms producing complex relationships.

The key challenge was the need to define an architectural interior for the shopping mall which would complement the development and its unique site with an original, special environment, whilst providing a strong synergy between the lower and the upper retail complex.

The project, inspired by the underground world of the Chinese landscape, rocks symbolism and 'caves' imagery, creates a context which relates precisely to the history, culture and local spirit (the 'Genius Loci') of the place. Juxtapositions of old and new, heritage and nature, place and history are the essential themes.

As metaphorical massive caves, escalator lobbies display organic forms, striking proportions and a variety of man-made 'rocks' wall formations in natural stones. Opened toward the arcade, the lobbies elicit a feeling of expansion. A loop of public space flanked by high street retail creates interconnectedness. Functional specific areas generate memorable spaces recognizable by their sculptural quality. The ambiance is characterized both by dynamism and coherency. Attractive visual elements and diverse amenities are key to defining a place for leisure, entertainment and compelling experiences for the customers.

Project Data:


2. Development type: Retail Complex

(Joint Venture Company: Chengdu Qianhao Real Estate Company Limited)

4. Clients: Swire Properties Limited and Sino-Ocean Land

5. Architects and respective roles:
- 'The Oval Partnership': Master Planner for the Daci Temple Project and Lead architect for the retail complex Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu.
- 'Elena Galli Giallini Ltd and Spawton Architecture': Lead Interior Designer for the retail complex Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu (Shopping Mall/Arcade and related services set over three storey below ground and upper floors public facilities)

6. Photo credit: © Virgile Simon Bertrand and The Oval Partnership

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