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32 Solar 'Trees' Form Shanghai Marketplace Designed by Koichi Takada Architects

We want to humanise buildings in the district, to be more engaging to the public and contribute to the regeneration of communities and their neighbourhoods. We want architecture to celebrate cultural identity, along with encouraging pedestrian activities and a more walkable and liveable city.
Koichi Takada

Koichi Takada Architects‘ design for a three-story marketplace in Shanghai is all about trees — both real and artificial — and forging a greener future for China. Called ‘solar trees marketplace’, the new commercial development is conceived as a gateway to a 155,000 sqm residential masterplan by client Tian An China. The organic-shaped building, which will be powered by solar energy, is currently under construction in shanghai’s Minhang district and is set to be complete by the end of 2021.

the program of solar trees marketplace spans a total floor area of 3450 sqm (37135.49 sqft). 32 architectural ‘trees’ inspired by shanghai’s forests create a sheltered canopy under which modular market stalls will be accommodated. just like real trees, the artificial trees will provide shelter and shade while letting fresh air flow through spaces. thanks to translucent canopies and solar panels, the structure will also generate its own power and create sun-filled interiors, making shoppers feel like they’re outside.

The Solar Trees Marketplace from the street. CGI by Doug & Wolf.

as well as designing for the future, and more specifically china’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2060, koichi takada architects also pays homage to the past. with the inclusion of modular market stalls, the marketplace aims to strike a balance between being contemporary while referencing chinese tradition. as markets were a place of social and cultural gathering in the past, this new structure also intends to afford a strong sense of community for a new generation.

50 camphor trees are planned outside the marketplace, marking the beginning of the green corridor that runs through the whole masterplan. 3000 trees and shrubs indigenous to shanghai, including white magnolia (shanghai’s city flower), ginkgo, camphor and celtis sinensis will create a new park. color coding of different plantings will also act as identifiers to distinguish neighborhoods within the masterplan and offer a guide for residents to find their way home.

The interior marketplace atrium. CGI by Doug & Wolf

with its nature-inspired approach, this project by koichi takada architects hopes to demonstrate that it is possible to transform one of the world’s most polluted and congested urban environments into a healthier and more sustainable place to live. solar trees marketplace intends to set a new green benchmark for mixed-use residential developments.