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First Building on Unicorn Island Nears Completion

Zaha Hadid Architects | 0:30

First Building on Unicorn Island Nears Completion

Tim Gibson

31 January 2020

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ZAHA HADID Architects’s (ZHA) first building on Unicorn Island is nearing completion.

The dramatic bowl-shaped structure - typical of the firm’s sinuous architectural style - will be a start-up business exhibition and conference centre. 

Above: Part of the proposed Unicorn Island development  ( image courtesy of MIR).

The Chengdi government in China is investing money into a comprehensive Unicorn Island masterplan to help support the country’s growing technology and research sectors.

The island will feature various buildings and facilities to support “unicorn companies” - start-us that have a value of at least USD $1BN.

Above: The view from Unicorn Island (image courtesy of MIR).

China is now home to a third of the world’s “unicorn companies”. The development is part of the country’s conscious effort to shift its economy away from manufacturing and towards knowledge and services.

The 67-hectare island designed by ZHA will provide space for 70,000 researchers, office staff, residents and visitors.

Above: The complete 67-hectare site (image courtesy of MIR).

The masterplan will be made up of a series of visually similar buildings to this first one revealed by ZHA. They will be arranged in clusters around a central plaza and metro station.

ZHA explain that each cluster will be established organically over the course of the scheme, so that they can respond to the shifting needs of the island’s users.

Above: The interwoven green spaces between the building clusters (image courtesy of MIR). 

Green spaces will link building clusters. The development will also feature civic spaces, water-conservation areas and urban farming, giving residents access to freshly grown produce.

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