GUANGZHOU – A retail street and a residential development make up SPARK’s project for Guangzhou’s new Science Town district. In an attempt to create a contemporary version of the Xintiandi urban village in Shanghai, designed by Ben Wood in 2001, the architects combined a 13-storey SOHO residential building with smaller scale retail components arranged in a village-like structure within a car-free area.

The international studio, with offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing and London pursued ‘the client’s ambition to establish a new benchmark for modern Chinese living with emphasis on quality and heritage’ by using traditional Chinese building materials, such as brick and willow pattern ceramics and reflecting in the design archetypal cultural elements like the Chinese screens.

A central alley and public square bond this 31,000-sq-m urban village which features a mixture of convenience stores, cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating located around sensitively landscaped pedestrian streets.

Photos courtesy of Guangzhou Vanke