Nanjing Sports and Culture Center

Location: Nanjing, China
Program: Sports Arena, Fitness Center, Cultural Hall, Performing Arts Theater
Status: Under Construction
Collaborative Partners: U+ Partners

The City of Nanjing has played a prominent role throughout China’s history and is one of the country’s great contemporary cities. Like many places across Asia, rapid growth has meant expedited urbanization. The Pukou District, across the Yangze River from city center is no different. What once was forests and farms has been transformed into the Cross-Strait Technology Industrial Park.

As part of this development, an expansive Sports and Culture Center was designed to accommodate the growing community and provide amenities that are fundamental to dense urban living. Conceptually, the building takes inspiration from four elements that embody the spirit of Nanjing: the Mountains, Water, Forests, and Wall. These points of engagement reflect the historic and contemporary values of residents. Intrigued by the potential relationship between these physical environments, the city, and its people, the center synthesizes a rich program into an extraordinary space that is new, yet familiar and authentic.

The four main features; arena, fitness center, cultural hall, and theater, occupy the corners of the site and free up space for an internal plaza that visually pulls the adjacent man-made river into the site. At ground level, each building is visually open, connecting the various programs and enriching the user experience. Atop the open base sits a frosted volume that appears to effortlessly float, humanizing the scale of the buildings, a much needed approach in the Chinese context.

Encircling the four buildings is a contemporary interpretation of the Ming Great Wall. Access to and from, through and above, provides a diversified opportunity to engage with each building in the complex while providing moments of respite to take in spectacular views of the interior plaza and surrounding region. Above all, the Cross-Strait Sports and Culture Center works to provide a forward looking representation of a contemporary country while paying homage to a rich past.