Steven Holl Architects
Steven Holl Architects were awarded first prize in the
design competition to redevelop the site of the oxygen and boiler
plants in Hangzhou.
The master plan includes residential towers and an international urban exposition center, and integrates functions like an art gallery, restaurants, and performance and exhibition spaces.
The scheme, based on the concept of Shan-Shui, meaning mountain and water, builds on Hangzhou's relationship with West Lake.
At the heart of the bow-tie plan is an Earth and Water Tower,
which act as a vertical gathering of the water and mountain zone.
From this central position in the large site, one tower branches
north towards tributary forms approaching the oxygen sector, while
the other branches south toward landscape forms at the boiler
A round tower rising from a water pond branches out to provide
pedestrian circulation to the North. This glass tower houses
offices with retail space at the base and a restaurant and event
space at the top.
A new zone of recreational waterstrips, parklike and open to
views from the main highway, identifies the center of the whole
project. Thin buildings offer a variety of housing types: Live/work
lofts for artists in residence, service apartments and boutique
design hotels can be found in this new green zone of trees and
The lantern towers take inspiration from the old stone lanterns
in West Lake, setting "fire over water." Photovoltaic glass curtain
walls gather the sun's energy during the day. At night, one
elevation of each tower glows via special Fresnel glass, reflecting
the day's energy in the water.
Piercing the oxygen plant building walls, green arcs provide
functional connections and service programs such as cafes, W.C.,
bicycle storage and information kiosks. These low and light-weight
glass arcades have open sides and green roofs.
At the center of the site, the Mountain Tower is joined via an
escalator bridge to an event space at the top to the Water Tower.
This tower of translucent ceramic skin and green roofs branches to
a landscape of faceted green mounds at the Boiler buildings.
At the far west of the Boiler buildings, a tilted landform of
natural grasses is punctured for light. Hovering over a large
public water garden, the structure is a dodecahedron truss which
contains a hotel, restaurants and cafes. In events where the large
Boiler building is used for an Expo, the water garden has a
platform floor allowing for it to be used as an exhibition and
The basic renovation strategy is to clean and minimally restore the existing building shells, inserting a new ground floor with radiant heat and cooling connected to geothermal wells. This will provide an economic and sustainable temperature climate for the buildings.
Within the minimally restored shells of the Oxygen and Boiler plants, new experimental architectural forms, designed by a variety of talented artists and architects, may take on functions of cafes, bars, and exhibit or
Facts about Shan-Shui Hangzhou
Steven Holl, Li Hu
Partner in charge:
Human Tieliu Wu
Young architect pavilions:
Hangzhou Urban Planning Documentation Center
Last updated: January 14, 2013