T20 by Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Sensual City Studio

T20 by Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Sensual City Studio

Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Sensual City Studio have recently completed the T20 in Xujiahui. The structure, on the site of a former hotel, combines office, civic, commercial and cultural space with green ribbons of public walkways, connecting the streets and buildings of China's busiest intersection with peaceful arteries from which to escape the tumult.

The design explored ways in which the project could become a generous catalyst for the wider environment, building pedestrian connections, walkways and bridges above the transport interchange as an extension of the building; in doing so, renewing the local infrastructure. Through extensive analysis, Jacques Ferrier, founder of Jacques Ferrier Architecture, and Pauline Marchetti, co-founder of Sensual City Studio, identified the need for enhanced pedestrian connectivity at the intersection and incorporated this into the building's car park. The radical intervention creates raised and planted walkways which lift pedestrians eight meters above the crossroads to provide more logical and enjoyable connectivity between city landmarks such as the church and the park.

The project includes two levels of commercial space underground, one of which is connected to the Metro City building by an underground gallery. Floors 1 and 2 house several hundred square meters of community spaces. Floors 3 to 7 house the public car park, which unfolds in the form of a continuous spiral, serving the offices and businesses of the district. The 8th and 9th floors are shared office space arranged around a large raised garden, and house a reception for visitors, cafeteria, meeting rooms, auditorium and spaces for relaxation and conviviality. Levels 10 to 15 have been developed as efficient and user-friendly office floors. The top two floors are home to the cultural centre, space that seemingly "floats" on the skyline of the district.

As a piece of architecture, T20 expresses the movement and dynamism inherent in the site: its circulation and activation through human use, across the bridges that connect to the city and at the ground and first floor level where public facilities and shops are located. The car park becomes a lush urban oasis for the city, with the insertion of an extraordinary 'hanging garden' that is visible from key public spaces.

Photography: Luc Boegly, Courtesy of Jacques Ferrier Architecture