Designed by American Prize for Architecture laureates Arquitectonica, along with associate architects Wong Tung Group for Shui On Development, Hall of the Sun in Shanghai is a sprawling commercial center comprising two office towers, a transportation hub, and seven levels of immersive retail space, including a massive food hall.
As one of Shanghai’s largest commercial complexes, Hall of the Sun has been designed to cater to discovery, enjoyment, convenience, and social connections for local residents.
The 240,000 square meters (2,583,000 square feet) mixed-use development opened in 2021, and features a giant atrium, garden terraces, an aquatic park, and an IMAX theater.
Hall of the Sun has recently been awarded a 2022 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The development comprises two Class A office towers connected by a central 150,000 square meters (1,614,000 square feet) retail center, featuring a massive food hall that includes restaurants, shops, and open market stands with fresh produce.
Resembling the Lotus flower, the central dome covers 5,500 square meters (59,000 square feet), making it the largest retail sky dome in the area.
The top of the dome acts as a fifth facade when viewed from the office buildings.
The complex also features a series of garden terraces with multi-level greenery, while the retail podium is a unified, flowing volume.
The curvature of the building redefines the frontages so as to remove the notion of a front, back, or side of the building.
The form is shaped by a series of vertical, perforated metal bands curved in sections, creating a translucent sunshade.
These bands undulate above the ground to reveal retail stores below.
Above, the undulating bands form the parapet to a series of garden restaurant terraces.
The image resembles a basket of produce, evoking the food emporium within, and a symbol of the farm-to-table movement.
The glass facades of the offices transform the pattern of the base into a series of vertical strands.
These bands redefine the volumes into slender soaring towers.
Curved corners reduce their wide appearance, with the tapering to the sky emphasizing this effect.
The wide site is resolved internally by creating a circular pedestrian loop.
This doubles the frontage of shops and connects multiple flows of movement into the property, including pedestrian intersections, a pedestrian bridge, and a tunnel that leads to a bus terminal, drop-off area, and subway connection.
The center island becomes a plateau supporting the monumental food hall.
The fifth floor of the food hall is the focal point of the upper three floors.
Designed as a destination space, it serves as the core of the complex.
The food hall has characteristics of Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, Quincy Market in Boston, and European models, offering a dining and lifestyle destination—a ‘journey’ for every customer.
On each level of the food hall (Levels 5-7), shoppers stroll through the various food and beverage zones.
The ‘journey’ is a sensory experience of food as a spectacle, complete with elevated interiors, blended genres, and tactile interaction.
A series of tree-like supports enclose this space, while filters between the ‘branches’ create an outdoor market effect.
Trellised pavilions populate the space with activity around the food market.
From above, the tree canopies emerge over a green roof that becomes the view from the offices and surrounding towers.
Project: Hall of the Sun
Associate Architects: Wong Tung Group of Companies (WT)
General Contractor: China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Group Co., Ltd.
Client: Shui On Development Limited
Photographers: Tenon Architectural Photography