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Tonkin Liu reveals quintet of towers in China

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Tonkin Liu has unveiled its competition-winning proposal for a cluster of five mixed-use skyscrapers in Zhengzhou, east-central China

The London practice defeated an international shortlist – including Hong Kong’s Rocco Design Architects – to win the invited competition for an unnamed client early last year. However, the images have only now been released.

Dubbed the Cradle Towers of Zhengzhou, the 434,000m² scheme will deliver new residential, commercial, hotel, retail and leisure space in five towers connected by a podium and grouped around a large landscaped space.

According to a statement by the practice: ‘Zhengzhou is the cradle of the nation’s civilisation. It sits at the heart of one of the earliest settlement areas of ancient China. Emblematic of the peaks of the nearby Songshan mountainscape and the Round Sky and Square Earth proverb, the Cradle Towers celebrate the city’s origins as it looks to build its future.

‘The city is square and the sky is round. A family of five towers of varying heights swoop out of the urban block to form a mountainscape. Vertical courtyards bring daylight into the deep plan at the base of the towers and establish vertical gardens up their inside faces.’

The statement continued: ‘At the micro-scale the glass façades are fritted with a responsive skin that serves to accommodate the varying requirements of programme, solar shading, and privacy. At a macro-scale it marks a gradation upwards from dark to light, establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky.

‘A fluid landscape spills out of the cradle and under the lifted podium ring, connecting the vast inner courtyard to the wider city sprawling beyond. At the peak of each tower a rooftop glass house simultaneously screens the mechanical plant floors and greens the skyline.’

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