dutch firm mecanoo has revealed its competition proposal for a major development in china. located along the bay of shenzhen, the global headquarters of china merchants bank seeks to form part of the city’s coastline.

 ‘the development along the bay of shenzhen will represent an important step for the city: not only the skyline will be profoundly changed, but the concept of what a contemporary megalopolis is, will be challenged,’ say the architects.

mecanoo shenzhen
all images courtesy of mecanoo



the key aspect of mecanoo’s design is the creation of a large public space, which defines the form of the surrounding buildings. ‘in the same way the glorious buildings of the past used to shape the city to allow a theatrical display of themselves, the future quarter of china merchants bank will be generated around a square that literally carves the building blocks and sets unity within all the elements of the plot,’ the design team explains.

mecanoo shenzhen
the key aspect of the design is the creation of a large public space



the proposal seeks to reinvent the high-rise typology and explores different relationships between indoor and outdoor space, and private and public use. ‘at the urban scale, a tower is normally a building that becomes the center of attention, a standalone object that polarizes space around its own footprint,’ says mecanoo. ‘in most cases, it is the tower’s plinth that generates the city and creates urbanity. 
the vertical element (tower) and the horizontal (plinth) merge into single volumes with a unifying character and language, and the central element of the composition becomes a public square. in order to build a city we need spaces, not only objects.’

mecanoo shenzhen
the proposal seeks to reinvent the high-rise typology

mecanoo shenzhen
the plaza defines the form of the surrounding buildings

mecanoo shenzhen
axonometric diagram

mecanoo shenzhen
concept sketches



project info:


size: 140,000 sqm / 1,506,947 sqf
status: design competition 

project design: 2017 – 2018

location: shenzhen, china
client: china merchants bank
program: china merchants bank headquarters, rental offices, art auction house, retail, 5 stars hotel, congress facility for 1,300 persons, meeting center, cultural facilities