Situated at the point of connection between West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Grand Canal, the 194,000 square meter project seeks to reinvigorate the city’s deteriorated surrounding blocks with five office towers, a boutique hotel, public parks and an active, mixed-use podium.
To address the many changing urban conditions of this growing city and emerging technology hub, the scheme will form a new green pedestrian link between West Lake and the Grand Canal, Hangzhou’s two essential landmarks, and will provide office space suited to technology startups and young professionals.
“The concept for the project was instigated by the challenges of the site, which is buried behind a main boulevard and nestled between a series of over scaled buildings,” says Jeffrey Kenoff, KPF Design Principal. “The design capitalizes on this seclusion and the need to redirect pedestrian flow by carving an active greenway through the site. This green space connects the project’s four inner blocks with terraced towers and echoes the richness, datum, and scale of West Lake and its surrounding mountains.”
To determine the position of the buildings and the overall organization of the site, the team worked with KPF Urban Interface, the firm’s research and design group, to parametrically link shadow impacts, visibility from streets, unobstructed views, maximized daylight, and other key factors into an algorithm that organizes optimal massing along the greenway.
Each of the buildings’ facades is designed to optimize daylight and energy while mapping contextual references within its expression. Designed with a modular, fluid porosity, the project reflects the material heritage of the city and its craftspeople, utilizing local materials such as terracotta, stone, and wood. The project is currently seeking LEED Platinum, China Green Building Label 3 Stars, and WELL Platinum certifications.
“Inspired by the many stone walls along the West Lake, the podium wall of West Lake 66 is designed in sinuous bands of rectangular cells that tie the site together,” says Kenoff. “Each cell responds to the program within and can be updated over the lifespan of the building.”
In addition, the podium stacks a mix of uses, forming a layered program that ensures future flexibility. At the upper floors, new office space opens onto a green roof that extends the length of the podium, creating a new public sky park for the city.
“West Lake 66 has benefited from an extraordinary level of collaboration with the local planning authorities,” says Peter Gross, KPF Managing Principal. “The result is a progressive design that is architecturally compelling and technologically advanced while still keenly sensitive to the rich historic context of the West Lake district and the historic structures on this site.”
Upon completion, West Lake 66 will create a new destination for young professionals and technology startups, with elevated public green space and a thoughtful, pedestrian-focused presence at the ground plane.