Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, China

The mixed-use development, totaling over 560,000 square meters of building area, will host commercial, hotel, office, and residential functions. The development “seeks to restore the spiritual harmony between humanity and nature” through integrating contemplative spaces that merge nature with the demands of modern living.

A series of low-rise buildings and footbridges allow the scheme to unfold onto the city, with curving, ascending corridors and elevated pathways weaving through commercial buildings. The routes are activated by public gardens and social spaces, to “create a spiritual and poetic retreat in the middle of the city.

White glass louvres create the evocative forms of the towers, which are designed to look as if they have been shaped by wind and water over millennia. Mountains were also the inspiration for Nanjing’s NBBJ-designed exhibition centre. Along the site’s perimeter, mountain-like towers appear “carved out by wind and water.” White curved glass louvers “flow” like waterfalls, merging with ponds, waterfalls, and brooks to echo Nanjing’s surrounding mountains and rivers. Nature has a deliberate presence in the complex, with ponds, rivers, waterfalls and pools integrated into the masterplan. Trees and entire structures covered in greenery break up the futuristic forms of the cityscape. Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Centre seeks to restore the spiritual harmony between humanity and nature through the integration of contemplative spaces that, while immersing inhabitants in nature, still meets the conveniences of modern day living. The development has entered its third and final stage of construction and is due to complete in 2020.