Golden Leaf Gardens was designed to create a new neighborhood at the center of the vibrant new Zhenru Central Business District, an innovation cluster that has deep connections to the historic Zhenru Region, the larger Putuo District, and the overall City of Shanghai.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022
First Award | Mixed Use (Concept)

Project Name: Golden Leaf Gardens
Studio Name: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Design Team: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Area: 463,285 sm
Year: 2018
Location: Shanghai, China
Consultants: N/A
Photography Credits: All images Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Other Credits: China Overseas Land and Investment (COLI): Client

Golden Leaf Gardens | Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture - Sheet1
©All images Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The design approach weaves together a neighborhood and a park in a sustainable next-generation mixed-use development through three site connectivity elements:

  • The ancient ginkgo tree: preservation and celebration across the entire project site;
  • The Zhenru Ecological Watercourse: an important connection that historically is tied to the Wusong and Hangpu Rivers as part of the larger Yangtze River Delta;
  • The new Zhenru Ecological Park: a natural asset that connects the neighborhood to a growing urban landscape.
Golden Leaf Gardens | Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture - Sheet2
©All images Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Project elements are positioned to intelligently terrace inward along the connections, creating unique spaces for activity and environments that help the park connect to the surrounding environment. The new Zhenru CBD will be a vibrant and exceptional development, one that is intelligently planned and created for people with a multi-generational lifestyle that is knit into the larger community, creating an unmistakably unique sense of place.

Golden Leaf Gardens | Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture - Sheet3
©All images Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Based on the site layout, solar orientation, view, and connectivity to green space, the design provides the optimized site plan when considering vehicles and pedestrians, employees and visitors, VIP, and service deliveries.   The architectural design creates optimized massing for a social atrium amenity and cultural space, as landmark features in the towers. Flexible retail spaces provide conventional mall floor space that is also re-programmable for future changes in the retail requirements.

The main towers are designed with occupant comfort in mind. The double-wall system allows the creation of indoor spaces that are well lit – without glare – and are thermally comfortable because of automated solar management and can provide natural ventilation when external conditions are favorable. Internally, the atria provide access to interior green spaces, while generating opportunities for unique meeting spaces.

The retail concept strives to create unique experiences for users that are supported by carefully

Golden Leaf Gardens | Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture - Sheet4
©All images Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

considered architectural moments. The nature of the nearby park finds its way into the project via the terraced rooftop experience. Outdoor and indoor garden terraces create maximum retail exposure and support a variety of activities and experiences. The programming produces a dynamic and stimulating environment with outdoor working spaces, private restaurant patios, quiet reflection corners, sculpture gardens, and educational exhibit areas for tenants and visitors. The site’s activity will overflow into the residential neighborhoods and other sites of the master plan.

Designed to be highly sustainable, Golden Leaf Gardens sets a new standard for commercial and retail buildings in the city. The project will manage 100% of its rainwater on site, supporting a robust approach to resiliency. The buildings are designed to be certified under the USGBC’s LEED rating scheme as LEED Platinum for core and shell.