Green Valley by Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Earlier this year, CreativeHunt revisited the 2010 World Expo site in Pudong and found that most of the pavilions, once much-touted and buzzed about during their heydays three summers ago, are now experiencing the decay of neglect. Last week, however, the former Expo site had its groundbreaking ceremony for the new 50,000 square meter Green Valley multi-use development complex that is now planned to take its place. The space will now house new buildings for retail, office, residential and public use, and has a projected completion date set for 2015. CH talked to Dixon Lu, the Chief Commercial Officer, Asia Region of Schmidt Hammer Lassen -- the architecture firm behind the project -- for some insight on what's now in the works for this Expo site revamp. First off, Lu explains, the new Green Valley project is meant to carry on the spirit of Expo, not to cover it up. The China Pavilion is being preserved and will actually act as one of the centerpieces of the complex. Says Lu: When the World Expo was being held here, this site attracted attention from the whole world. The client doesn't want to just build a bunch of high rises there and act like it wasn't there before. Especially with the China Pavilion -- we don't want to overshadow that. Instead of high rises, we've planned a valley that creates a sense of openness, because the concept is to attract all people -- not just office workers and shoppers -- anyone during anytime, during the weekend, in the nighttime -- this is meant to be a shared open space. Furthermore, keeping in line with the 2010 Expo theme of promoting sustainable lifestyles for the good of future generations, the development is planned to be an eco-conscious one with goals to create a lush, green environment and energy-efficient initiatives. Lu says that the designs are all meant to promote a very natural feeling: As for the buildings themselves, we used a very simple geometry in the designs. With each building, we decided to use a simple box shape, then build a unique atrium inspired by the shape of the previous pavilion that had once been on the site of that particular building... So they are all connected by this sense of geometry, but each receives natural daylight and ventilation through specially designed atriums. Schmidt Hammer Lassen currently has two additional projects in Shanghai: the Xuhui Binjiang Performance Arts Center (currently set for a late 2015 to early 2016 opening, to be determined) and the high-profile West Bund International Biennale of Art and Architecture. The latter project, set for an estimated opening in October 2013, has been a collaborative effort among SHL and Tongji Design Institute, as well as architects Atelier Deshaus, Atelier BowWow and China's first Pritzker prize winner, Wang Shu. CreativeHunt will be all over that one, so check in on an update on the new West Bund Biennale in the coming months.