Constant densification and urbanization of the world has brought about many discourse on the way cities function. No matter the location, cultural and political background of a city, public spaces have a common weight and importance in all city dwellers' daily lives. Public spaces such as the park are important places for recreational activities, creative gatherings and sometimes uprisings and dissent. However, a recent trend in the attempt to privatize and capitalize on historical plazas, parks and neighborhoods by corporate conglomerates such as Apple and Google has challenge the very essence of publicness of these urban spaces. In Shenzhen, the city of record-breaking number of firsts in terms of the speed and scale of its development, the lacking of built public spaces is especially stark.
MINDPARK Shenzhen is not only a hub for creative exchange, the very publicness of its spatial organization is woven into the city fabric of Shenzhen's Houhai district. Located on an entire built city-block, two human-scale streets penetrates an old factory to encourage exploration of the multi-programmed complex. Side streets are established, further activating the movement through MINDPARK. One would walk from the western plaza towards the northern entrance, passing by a library and a coffee stand. The grand stairs of the library functions as a space for creative gatherings and dialogue, the furniture and bookshelves are arranged in a way that encourages exchange and conversation.
At each nodal pause of this stroll, there is an unexpected experience awaiting in the adjacent space. Coming from the shopping mall across Haide Yidao street, one would enter a warm brick courtyard that opens into a light-filled cafe. From the courtyard, a diagonal stairway leads up towards a nodal landing. On the left, there is a an open-plan shop; on the right, a double-height art gallery showcasing creative talent locally and from abroad.
MINDPARK plays a role of an activator and a catalyst in the creative scene of Shenzhen, but it also aims to inject a sense of urban publicness for all of Shenzhen's people. The old dormitory building of the factory is transformed into a bustling ped-way. The workshops and meeting rooms serve groups of different sizes for their business needs. The restaurant attracts people from every and any walk of life, completely opening up every corner of MINDPARK to the city of Shenzhen.
The silhouette of the main building of MINDPARK is reminiscent of its industrial past, it is an honest and nostalgic but forward-thinking architectural gesture. Along with the tactile materiality of the multiple facade systems, one would attach spatial memories to a space they can touch, smell and feel in the most direct manner, establishing MINDPARK's permanence and timelessness.
Project title: Shenzhen MindPark
Location: Shenzhen, China
No. of storeys: 3F
Design Architect: Daipu Architects
Principal Architect：Dai Pu
Design Team: Guo Lulu, Jing Jie Wong, Duan Chencheng, Li Anping, Meng Fanyu, Jiang Junjie (Intern), Man Linggezi (Intern), Xue Yongsheng (Intern)
Design: 2018.9 – 2019.2
Design phase: Con.D, DD, SD