Our first challenge with Wuhan Tiandi was that unlike Xintiandi there were only nine historic buildings on the site, providing us with little fabric. To provide the depth and character which comes with age, we kept more than a hundred pre-existing trees, some 150 years old, often rearranging our buildings around them. Focusing then on the spaces between buildings, we crafted lanes and alleys organized along a great street. We studied Boston’s Newberry Street and adopted its stepped double story shops, brought in Wuhan’s street food culture by filling it with cafes, and used smaller floor to floor distances so that the two stories could more easily relate to each other.
The second challenge is that Wuhan, known as one of the three furnaces of China, can be extraordinarily hot. Committed to encouraging the life of the street, we used spot cooling systems and built radiant slab under the entire street to create a micro-climate, hospitable in the winter and summer.
Wuhan Tiandi is part of a larger Shui On development laid out by SOM along Wuhan’s Inner Ring Road.