NL architects combines residential towers and shopping center in china
all images courtesy of NL architects







NL architects plans a mixed-use complex near xiamen north station, in xiamen, fujian province, china. the ‘vankely’ (vanke alley) is designed as a public ‘street’ by the train station and offers a residential towers, offices, and a large shopping area in the scheme. combining retail and accommodation for vanke, one of china’s largest housing corporations, NL develops a typology that merge ‘soho’s’ (stands for small office) and a residential program.222 units of about 30m2 are arranged on top of a 10,000m 2 shopping base. although the eight towers are not part of the immediate program, they are conceived to frame the site. the layout of the high-rises is based on a computational model that enhances the allocation of units relative to orientation and proximity to optimize land use. the shops as well as the ‘soho’ are covered in greenery, as a landscaped hill forms a natural base for the towers. a sequence of well defined plazas are accessed to by footpaths and bridges, each having a defining character are suspended over the public ‘street’. the height of the bridges increases towards the center of the complex and is accessible by the green roof and extends a natural impression.

rendering of the shopping center wedged among the towers



winding circulation on top of green roof



rendering of a plaza space in ‘vankely’


the footbridges illuminated at night








project info:



architect: nl architects, pieter bannenberg, walter van dijk, kamiel klaasse
project name:
 xiamen north station complex
location: xiamen, china 2013 – 2014
client: vanke real estate development co., ltd. hainan
team: gen yamamoto and zhongnan lao, with qian lan, yuxiao chen,  aleksandra babicka, kurt wu, jakub kupikowski