Jianianhua Building

Honor Award

This new mixed-use retail and office complex is in the heart of a port city in southwest China. As part of a redevelopment master plan, the city commissioned the design of a central park and plaza, to be anchored by the Jianianhua building. To counteract the grayness of the region and respond to the intense visual activity of the city center, the building elevates the potential of environmental graphics as civic art form.

Using a standard triad signage system, the building's entire eight-story retail component becomes a slow-moving choreographed graphic. Enclosing this dynamic billboard behind the glass skin diminishes its commerciality and transforms the architecture.

The client commissioned the first super-graphic to celebrate Chinese New Year and the opening of the park. The scheme – an urban flower box – celebrates the approach of spring and captures the ultimate symbol of good fortune in China: 1000 simultaneously blooming flowers. The concept is visualized through a seemingly infinite combination of abstract pattern and color sequences through the programmed rotation of the individual panels. In two areas, the panels are spaced to allow for views outward from the café and entry stair within.

Jury Comments: 

"This beautiful and bold statement is an excellent example of adapting tried and true technology (rotating, three-stage billboards) to a form of interpretive art. It is completely integrated with the architectural façade and completely culturally appropriate. Bravo to the designer for adding beauty and meaning to an otherwise nondescript mixed-use development and bravo to the client for incorporating non-commercial messaging into their building for the betterment of the neighborhood." "The integration of this large scale graphic with the architecture is seamless. Placing the triad signage system behind the glass façade makes the building and graphic a single unit. The triad panels allow for an infinite number of patterns and possibilities, allowing the building to have a very dynamic existence. This is not a decorative approach; the imagery is appropriate to the Chinese culture and the celebration of the New Year."

Design Firm: 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Client: 

Chongqing Financial Street Real Estate Co., Ltd.

Location City: 

Chongqing, China

Project Area: 

N/A

Open Date: 

N/A

Project Budget: 

N/A

Photo Credits: 

Tim Griffin

Design Team: 

Lonny Israel, Brad Thomas, Alan Sinclair

Consultants: 

Flack & Kurtz, Inc. (lighting)

Fabricators: 

Shenzhen Minsure Science & Technology Co., Ltd.

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