Koichi Takada envisions a greener future for China with Solar Trees Marketplace

Koichi Takada Architects pair 32 man-made trees powered by the sun with 50 natural ones to form the biophilic Solar Trees Marketplace being built in Shanghai, China.

by Jincy IypePublished on : May 18, 2021

A greener future for China. Powered by the Sun.

Inspired by the rich landscape and forests of Shanghai, Koichi Takada Architects has imagined a three-storey, mixed use development called Solar Trees Marketplace, that will stem forth in the Minhang district, 20 kms south-west of Shanghai. Thirty-two architectural ‘trees’ will rise from the ground and mingle with 50 natural ones to become a splendid canopy of solar panels and timber branches that shelter this new marketplace.

The fresh sustainable hub will serve as a gateway to the new 1,55,000 sqm residential masterplan (Shanghai Tian An Caobao Road Area Residential Masterplan) by Tian An China, the client. This also echoes China’s ambitious and powerful commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060, setting a newer, greener benchmark for mixed-use developments.

Solar Trees Marketplace as imagined by Koichi Takada Architects | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
Solar Trees Marketplace as imagined by Koichi Takada Architects Image: Doug & Wolf

Spread over 3,450 sqm, the floor area will accommodate modular market stalls while the rest of the 3,770 sqm site will include landscaping and amenities. By including modular market stalls, a sense of authenticity will be brought to the contemporary development, “referencing their history as social and cultural gathering spaces and allowing a new generation to gather at its heart. Reflecting the Chinese tradition of making guests feel at home - bīn zhì rú guī – the marketplace will generate a powerful sense of community and integrate the private and public domains,” shares the Australian firm led by Koichi Takada.

32 architectural trees will mingle with 50 natural ones to form the sustainable commercial hub | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
32 architectural trees will mingle with 50 natural ones to form the sustainable commercial hub Image: SAN

“We want to humanise buildings in the district, to be more engaging to the public and contribute to the regeneration of communities and their neighbourhoods. We want architecture to celebrate cultural identity, along with encouraging pedestrian activities and a more walkable and liveable city,” says Takada.

Made distinct by its alluring, biophilic form, Solar Trees Marketplace integrates environmental and sustainable design initiatives at its core. Branches and leafy foliage of 32 man-made trees rest above the footpath and provide shade and shelter to visitors, apart from allowing natural light and fresh air to permeate the marketplace.

Solar Trees Marketplace is currently under construction | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
Solar Trees Marketplace is currently under construction Image: SAN

The translucent canopies are fitted with iridescent solar panels that generate power for the marketplace, which is imagined as a seamless extension of the natural landscape. This solar canopy will filter in daylight and create a relaxed setting, suffused with a boulevard of native trees that boosts well-being.

The artificial canopy will be fitted with solar panels to generate power for the marketplace | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
The artificial canopy will be fitted with solar panels to generate power for the marketplace Image: SAN

“Fifty camphor trees planted outside welcome the beginning of the green corridor that runs through the masterplan. Three thousand trees and shrubs indigenous to Shanghai, including white Magnolia (Shanghai’s city flower), Ginkgo, Camphor and Celtis Sinensis create a new and significant park. Colour coding of different plantings also acts to identify and distinguish neighbourhoods within the masterplan and offers a guide for residents to find their way home,” informs the firm.

Inside the biophilic form as imagined by Koichi Takada Architects | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
Inside the biophilic form as imagined by Koichi Takada Architects Image: Doug & Wolf

An engagingly green architecture, Solar Trees Marketplace introduces a unique landscape to the Minhang district. The project also aims to demonstrate that through a nature-inspired approach, it is possible to transform one of the world’s most polluted and congested urban environments into a healthier, more sustainable place to live and thrive.

Currently under construction, the development carves out a brighter and greener future for Chinese marketplaces, and is Takada’s latest project in China, due for completion by the end of 2021.

  • Axonometric Diagram of the Solar Trees Marketplace | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
    Axonometric Diagram of the Solar Trees Marketplace Image: Courtesy of Koichi Takada Architects
  • Ground Floor Plan | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
    Ground Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Koichi Takada Architects
  • Second Floor Plan | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
    Second Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Koichi Takada Architects
  • Rooftop Floor Plan | Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects | STIRworld
    Rooftop Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Koichi Takada Architects

Project Details

Name: Solar Trees Marketplace
Location: Shanghai Minhang District, China
Client: Tian An China Investments Company Limited
Site area: 3,770 sqm
Ground Floor Area: 3,450 sqm
Year of completion: (Under Construction) December, 2021
Architect: Koichi Takada Architects
Building type: Commercial, Retail

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