shanghai-based dutch firms MORE architecture and AIM architecture have completed construction on the mixed-use jiaxing island complex, situated between the urban centers of shanghai and hangzhou, china. by interpreting the assignment for a clubhouse into a small village, the architects shape a human scale environment with public space at its heart, creating what they intend to be a truly people-oriented architecture. 

the complex is located between shanghai and hangzhou
all images by dirk weiblen



the jiaxing island complex challenges a number of conventional urban concepts in china: large scale architecture, north-south orientations, car dominated streets and the square as an expression of power. the design proposed by AIM and MORE offers a car free urban village with multilayered functions and an emphasis on public space. the location’s eight volumes merge into one conceptual building that offers a selection of different programs, uses and experiences. the diverse uses — office, hotel, gallery, restaurants, kindergarten, sports center and pool — are divided over distinct buildings that all face onto the central court. the different volumes are interconnected on their second level, where walkway bridges allows residents to pass through a number of programs and activities. 

the architects shape a human scale environment with public space at its heart



the complex’s façade, made of spanish sandstone, is closed in alleyways but is increasingly articulated as it faces the square and surrounding landscape. the sunken public square around which the buildings are organized is defined by a series of interlocking stairwells, serving both as a space of gathering and as an impromptu auditorium for performance and presentation. 

the studios aim to create ‘people-oriented architecture’

a gallery for contemporary art sits at the west side of the square

the stairs can also be used as an auditorium for events

the car-free square opens up to the surrounding landscape

the façade is clad with spanish sandstone 

a gallery, short stay apartments and sports building face the square

the basement contains a multifunctional conference centre

first floor plan

cross section


project info:


client: jiaxing huazhang real estate ltd.


MORE architecture: daan roggeveen, robert chen, jaime fernández rosa, adrián briega muñoz, xue guangjie, emilio wang, cherie cheung, stephen kwok, ma yuanrong, wang bizhou
AIM architecture: vincent de graaf, wendy saunders, alejandro felipe, jane ji, dong ker, mavis li, jiao yan, zhou min, fredrik garpenfelt, allan yin


engineering: cscec / zhang ye and tian le
contractor: zhejiang construction and engineering group
façade: hunan façade construction group
photography: dirk weiblen


16,000 sqm mixed use
offices, hotel, short stay apartments, contemporary art gallery, 4 restaurants, pool, gym, kindergarten, conference centre, open-air auditorium
architecture, interior design, landscape design
design 2012 – 2014
construction: 2013 – 2016


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news