Bund Finance Centre (BFC) is a prominent new mixed-use destination in Shanghai designed jointly by Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio. The 420,000-square-metre development of eight buildings includes two 180-metre landmark towers, and combines premium ‘grade A’ offices with a boutique hotel, an arts and cultural centre and a wide variety of luxury retail spaces, all arranged around a generous landscaped public plaza.
Occupying a prominent site on the Bund, the buildings define the ‘end point’ to Shanghai’s most famous street. The masterplan is highly permeable for pedestrians, with the design conceived as a point of connection between the old town, the Bund and the new financial district. Inspired by this urban context, two landmark towers are placed in the south of the site, while the buildings facing the waterfront are staggered in height and relate in scale and rhythm to the grand nineteenth-century landmarks along the Bund.
The scheme brings together premium office space for international headquarters and a unique ‘corporate mansion’ – an elite networking platform for business partners and VIPs. A boutique luxury hotel provides a glamorous new destination on the Bund. The retail spaces are vertically layered with boutiques, concept stores for international brands, a luxury shopping mall and Michelin-starred restaurants. A palette of crafted stone and bronze details gives the buildings a jewel-like quality. The edges of each volume are made of richly textured, hand-crafted granite and become slimmer as they rise, giving the impression of solidity at the base and transparency at the top.
At the heart of the scheme is a flexible arts and cultural centre, which combines exhibition and events halls with a performance venue, inspired by the open stages of traditional Chinese theatres. The centre is conceived as a platform for international arts and cultural exchange, as well as a place for brand events, product launches and corporate functions. The building is encircled by a moving veil, which adapts to the changing use of the building and reveals the stage on the balcony and views towards Pudong.
David Nelson, Head of Design at Foster + Partners: “The project has given us an exciting opportunity to create a glamorous new destination, as well as a new series of spaces that create a major addition to the public realm, right in the heart of historic Shanghai.” Thomas Heatherwick, Heatherwick Studio: “Sitting at the gateway to Shanghai’s Old Town, on the river bank where boats would arrive from the rest of the world, this is an extraordinary site which stood unoccupied for many years. In filling this last empty site on Shanghai’s famous Bund, the concept is inspired by China’s ambition not to duplicate what exists in the rest of the world but to look instead for new ways to connect with China’s phenomenal architectural and landscape heritage.”Location: Shanghai, China
Architects: Foster + Partners & Heatherwick Studio
Project name: Bund Finance Centre Visualisations: Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio