SOUTH LAKE RECREATIONAL RETAIL CENTER | MIYI, CHINA | 2009 | CONCEPT DESIGN PHASE

Taking advantage of Miyi's beautiful topography and riverside location is the new South Lake Recreational Retail Center. The Center is positioned to capitalize on the naturally cleansed waters of the South Lake area. Drawn further north from the adjacent river, the water is made suitable for swimming and other water-based activities through a series of engaging and attractive ecologies. Beginning with the constructed wetlands at the North Lake and continuing through the cleansing, meandering waterway of Central Park, the purified water arrives at the wetland park and wildlife habitat before finally being dispensed into the South Lake. The Center intends to serve the local residents of Miyi and year-round tourists, some of which may be utilizing the conference and boutique hotel facilities on the opposing lake shore.

Rather than simply establishing an internalized retail complex, the design creates a significant public space with a direct connection to the water and its extensive potential for hosting recreational activities. This reflects the client's desire that the new masterplan achieve recognition as a destination for relaxation and water-based recreation due to the favorable climate. The public plaza serves as a connecting element for the three disparate structures of which the largest is the recreational retail store. Immediately adjacent to the retail store is an equipment rental structure where consumers can find short term loans on various watercraft which can be launched directly from the rental facility into a private channel. Marking the terminus of the pier is a small waterside restaurant and cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating.

Evoking the materiality and massing of the mountainous terrain of Miyi, the three buildings are conceptually carved from one solid entity and reconnected through the public plaza. Of particular interest in the retail store is the extensive climbing wall with indoor and outdoor climbing surfaces. The south-facing plaza maximizes sun exposure as it extends outward, its edge disintegrating into the water as a series of steps enabling residents and tourists to immerse their feet in the refreshing and naturally cleansed waters of the South Lake. It is here where the descending plaza stairs meet a gradually submerged plane, providing the critical, yet casual transition from land to water-based activity.

Project Team: Mario Cipresso, Marisol Mejia, Stephen Morton, Andrew Kim