Located just an hour and a half away from Shanghai, Shaoxing is a historic water-town in Zhejiang Province renowned for its celebrated scholars, poets and artists in Chinese history.

These cultural and historical elements inspired AECOM’s design for the Shaoxing Huafa Cultural Center, a key component of the transit-oriented development (TOD) located north of the planned Museum Station of the future Metro Line 3. This upcoming station perfectly connects the new high-speed railway station and the old Shaoxing downtown area as well as easy access to AECOM designed Shaoxing International Vitality City, a new financial center with integrated retail, office, hospitality, leisure and residential functions that are expected to boost local economic growth.

AECOM worked closely with the client to deliver the highest level of quality in each phase of the project, providing a full range of services including architecture design, landscape design and interior concept once the overall concept was agreed upon.

A symbol of how literature, arts, architecture and nature converge, the five-storey-building with 6,700 square meters of floor space borrows its design from stacked books and scholarly tomes. These form the building’s massing and create terraces and cantilevers that follow a clear progression.

The same idea is further expressed on the facade as horizontal louvers representing pages and paper that fold over to create a system of steps that combine all terraces. Internally, each function connects to a central stairwell that allows for a visual junction between all floors and expands the perception of space inside the building.

As the culmination of the interior functions, the pool on the fourth floor is one of the highlights of the design. To further elevate the quality of the space and increase the amount of natural light inside, the project team developed a system of skylights that works together with the main structure and adapts to the conditions on the site. The skylights right above the pool have been designed with an angle to open towards the east. During wintertime, the sun can directly filter through the glass and heat up the space. During summertime, sunlight bounces against the reflective metal surface and illuminates the pool indirectly.

AECOM’s talented landscape designers took inspiration from Shaoxing’s connection to water as the ancient city is also characterized by ubiquitous water ways and exquisite bridges and has a deep-rooted bond with the Grand Canal. This became the main driver for the project’s landscape design, which took a sensible approach to sustainability and careful attention to local tradition. The landscape and the architecture merge at the ground level, seamlessly making the building float on a mirror of water and immersing the upper floors in abundant vegetation.

Enriching its neighboring area with all these innovative elements and cultural functions, Shaoxing Huafa Cultural Center, as one of the city’s iconic social infrastructures, is now benefiting community residents, enhancing social values and contributing to the long-term development of the city.