Nordic - Office of Architecture builds spiraling Nanchang Waves tower in China

White built forms blend with the flowing landscape of Nanchang Waves, a community centre comprising commercial areas, a front square and a spiraling observation tower.

by Jincy Iype Published on : Jun 22, 2020

Norway-based firm Nordic – Office of Architecture has completed Nanchang Waves, a landscape-based community centre in China’s Jiangxi Province. The complex includes an observation tower, a front square, and commercial areas designed on a flowing landscape that sits at the heart of a large residential development in Nanchang City. The twisting, double helix, ivory viewing tower at the complex’s end hosts a panoramic gallery at its top, and provides a 360-degree overview of the surrounding neighbourhood.

  • Nanchang Waves is a landscape-based community centre in China’s Jiangxi Province | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Nanchang Waves is a landscape-based community centre in China’s Jiangxi Province Image Credit: ©schranimage
  • The flowing landscape and twisting observation tower of Nanchang Waves | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    The flowing landscape and twisting observation tower of Nanchang Waves Image Credit: ©schranimage

Nanchang Waves’ design draws inspiration from the natural wetlands it is located in and surrounded with. The 5,844 sqm complex sits adjacent to the Elephant Lake Wetland Park, and presents a prominent spatial experience where the built form and landscape merge as one. “The design consists of three natural elements, water, earth and sky, corresponding to three functional areas: the front square, the commercial facilities and the observation tower,” mentions the official statement by Nordic – Office of Architecture.

Aerial view of Nanchang Waves | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
Aerial view of Nanchang Waves Image Credit: ©schranimage

Undulating levels inform the design across Nanchang Waves that rest on a rectangular strip, with soft landscaping peppering the white built forms and concluding with the twisting tower on one side. The front square’s landscape design combines Nanchang’s ancient water culture and the landscape of Elephant Lake. Nodes within this landscape host various functions for people of all ages and provide memorable experiences within the complex.

  • Nanchang Waves community centre at night overlooking the city and its wetlands | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Nanchang Waves community centre at night overlooking the city and its wetlands Image Credit: ©schranimage
  • The undulating landscape and white built forms of Nanchang Waves conclude in the twisting tower | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    The undulating landscape and white built forms of Nanchang Waves conclude in the twisting tower Image Credit: ©schranimage

The front square’s landscape also goes above and beyond the generic three-dimensional urban design, with its outdoor amphitheater that unfolds slowly and theatrically. The rooftop garden here can be accessed from both sides of the structure, beneath which rests a scattering of retail and commercial spaces. These spaces further elevate the vitality of the outdoor activity space at the plaza’s front. The interiors present glass facades sandwiched between ceilings and floors that are furnished with light coloured wood, in the company of egg-shaped chairs, glossy tables and silver decorative sculptures.

  • Inside Nanchang Waves designed by Nordic - Office of Architecture | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Inside Nanchang Waves designed by Nordic - Office of Architecture Image Credit: ©schranimage
  • Egg shaped chairs and glossy tables inside Nanchang Waves | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Egg shaped chairs and glossy tables inside Nanchang Waves Image Credit: ©schranimage

The white viewing tower faces the wetlands and becomes the finale of Nanchang Waves, by the means of the language of stretched curves and waves. The double spiraling structure is representative of ‘future living’, and of the new, modern spirit of Nanchang, as it gears up to become the city’s newest landmark. It also embodies the city’s local tradition of towers such as “the Teng Wang Pavilion, one of the three most famous buildings in Jiangnan, and the Shenjin Pagoda, which has stood here for thousands of years, and when gazing out from the viewing tower, one can see the Wanshou Pagoda, located in the wetland park,” relays the Oslo-based architecture and urban design practice, with offices in Copenhagen, London and Reykjavik.

  • Visitors traversing the double helix staircase of Nanchang Waves tower | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Visitors traversing the double helix staircase of Nanchang Waves tower Image Credit: ©schranimage
  • Inside the twisting staircase that leads to the observation deck on the tower’s top | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Inside the twisting staircase that leads to the observation deck on the tower’s top Image Credit: ©schranimage

The twisting staircase not only allows one to traverse the viewing tower and the observation deck on its top, but presents an interesting journey in itself, by curving and providing wonderful views along the way. The observation deck presents a picture-perfect platform to watch sunrise and sunsets, along with unparalleled views of the surrounding wetlands preserved amid Nanchang’s concrete jungle.

  • Exploded Axonometric diagram | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Exploded Axonometric diagram Image Credit: Courtesy of Nordic – Office of Architecture
  • Exploded Axonometric diagram | Nanchang Waves by Nordic – Office of Architecture | STIRworld
    Function diagram Image Credit: Courtesy of Nordic – Office of Architecture

Project Details

Name: OCT • Vanke Waterfront City, the Floating Pier
Location: Intersection of Yunjin Road and Zhenjun Road, Xihu District, Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, China
Gross Built Area: 5844.8 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Client: Jiangxi Vanke (Zhu Shu, Wan Luobin, Zhou Qinghua, Li Jialei, Zhang Dengchun, Chang Yumeng, Li Huile)
Architect: Nordic - Office of Architecture
Lead Architect: Thomas Lindgård Fagernes
Design team: Zhang Yang, Diana Cruz, Pedro Joel Costa, Lucia Borg, Valentina Glavica
Consultant: Vanke Shanghai Area VANSN (Qi Wei, Jiang Ziqi)
Landscape Design: Zhu Yufan Studio (Zhu Yufan, Yao Yujun, Ma Ke, Qiu Baiwei, Zhang Boya, Liu Yunshuo, Zhang Ning, Cao Tianhao, Yang Yuxin, Liu Si, Cheng Piao, Jia Mingrui)
Lighting Design: Shanghai PINKO Lighting Design Consultant
Architectural construction drawing design: Shanghai Foreign Construction Architectural Design Co., Ltd.
Landscape construction drawing design: Shanghai Qidi Landscape Planning and Design Co., Ltd.
Structural consultant: Rambøll
Project general contracting: Zhongtian Construction Group Co., Ltd.
Landscape construction: Hangzhou Tianqin Landscape Engineering Co., Ltd.
Sculpture construction: Shanghai Haosuo Environmental Art Co., Ltd.
GRC Construction: Nanjing Beilida New Material System Engineering Co., Ltd.

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About Author

Jincy Iype

Jincy Iype

Iype is a trained architect, who often indulges in writing and amateur photography. She was a cinephile and a melophile even before she knew what those words meant. She is inclined towards architecture journalism, and can usually be found curled up reading a book, or cooking for therapeutic relief.

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