Located in the Longhua District of Shenzhen, the Cloud is a 7300 square-meter mixed-use commercial project located near the Shenzhen North Railway Station. Serving both the adjacent residential high-rises and the general public, the Cloud invigorates and enlivens a rapidly developing urban district and creates an iconic landmark that redefines the commercial experience.
Combining high-end retail spaces and cultural programs, the Cloud is a transformative indoor commercial street and an urban infrastructure that integrates nature and public amenities within the building and around the site. By conceiving the roof as a continuous public garden, the project extends the park in front of the site into the building to create a new civic space that enjoys sweeping views of the city.
The sinuous roof gardens on top are coupled with continuous indoor retail spaces encased within a series of organic forms. The shifting program plates are connected via bridges that take visitors through a series of unique spaces. These spaces include open-air and covered exterior conditions that maximize seasonal use. To maximize the response to local climate, the building provides ample exterior public spaces makes extensive use of exterior shading, passive cooling strategies, and planted landscapes.
As its name suggests, the Cloud is a dynamic structure that contains the tension between opposite directional forces while visually levitating above the ground plane. The form consists of six rotated platforms on at different heights connected through bridges. This linear configuration creates a clover-like series of spaces that spiral upward toward the roofscape.
The uniquely energetic exterior and interior spaces create a variety of spatial experiences, creating an internal complexity reminiscent of the drawings of Piranesi. Curving ramps arising from the internal retail space bring visitors upwards into a vertical forest. Walkways penetrate these spaces to evoke the feeling of walking through a verdant canopy, terminating in rooftop public terraces that enjoy panoramic views of the city beyond.
Reaching the sky with every platform and bridge, the interior spaces combined within the sculptural form enjoy access to striking views of the city beyond that combine light, geometry, and materiality. The singular design gesture combines expressive form and internal flows to propose a new typology for interior commercial space. It rethinks traditional perceptions of retail space and programs and functions that occupy it to create a new typology that is commercial, civic, and natural at the same time.
The Cloud is clad in a parametrically-designed perforated UHPC skin with an abstract quality that reinforces the design concept and adds perceptual complexity to the massing and interior experience. It also serves to modulate daylight and views, allowing views outward while minimizing the visual clutter created by the retail program.
Based in New York City, Studio Link-Arc, LLC is an international team of architects and designers. Our name, Link-Arc, refers to the practice’s collaborative nature as well as the company’s mission, which is to work across disciplines to create strategy and design in the fields of urban planning, architecture, spatial art and landscape. We accomplish this by linking knowledge, resources, and intelligence, from multiple perspectives and diverse backgrounds.
Our body of work includes innovative projects at all scales. We see the relationship between architecture and context as an opportunity to create new context, new nature and a new understanding of the world. Through research, we uncover the essential truths unique to each project, and use those truths to create concepts and to shape form. We endeavor to create refined works of architecture. We create spaces that promote contemplation and imagination and provide quiet satisfaction through the simple act of occupation.