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OōEli, Hangzhou

A new benchmark for quality design and construction

The urban complex OōEli is a superblock of 230,000m² ,serving as the new headquarters of the Chinese high fashion brand JNBY and the local design institute GOA which also offers arts, retail, working and leisure space for the city of Hangzhou.

As the concept designer as well as façade and lighting consultant, Arup worked closely with Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) and GOA to bring the design to life with engineering ingenuity.


Project Summary

230,000 total GFA

17buildingsoffering art galleries, event space, designer shops and commercial space

260 x 175msite surrounded by buildings to create a green urban park

OōEli © Kingkey Architecture Photography OōEli © Kingkey Architecture Photography

Conceiving a new concept complex

Composed of 17 buildings offering art galleries, event space, designer shops and commercial space, the design concept of OōEli is to place the buildings around the perimeter of this 260m x 175m site to create a large protected green interior space – an urban park which accommodates a grand piazza, water features and gardens where people may gather and relax. The orientation and openings between the buildings were informed by a series of wind and solar studies. All the buildings, with their lobbies and retail spaces, are oriented towards the urban park. This park extends up to a tea-planted rooftop that further improves the microclimate and mitigates the heat island effect.

Realising the intricate, simple façade

Our team realised the seemingly ‘simple’ façade design with delicate detailing, sophisticated fabrication techniques and quality workmanship. The building façades adopted a simple modular design with an industrial quality, which is carefully crafted with intricate detailing to complement the space without overshadowing it – the outward facing façades feature RPBW’s hallmark narrow-width windows while the interior-facing façades feature larger windows to better connect with the outside park and maximise view and daylighting.

To create an industrial metal appearance, natural anodising was selected to provide a protective layer over the aluminium panel while the contours or ‘ribs’ sculpted onto the metal panels were carefully dimensioned and oriented to best manipulate the light from reflection and shadow.

Optimising for cost and performance

Our façade designers explored alternative design details to make the panels easier to produce and thus reduce the cost while respecting the original design intent. By subdividing panels and fixing them together with fasteners, we were able to reduce the size of the material needed while enhancing production efficiency.

We also modified the panel configuration to accommodate variations in the panel modules – by adjusting the width of the two vertical panel pieces with a traditional folding method and slightly increasing the spacer between them, we not only solved the problem with simple variations in panel width but also avoided the extra mould cost.

Enlivening the superblock

We made use of exterior lighting to reinforce the identity and experience of the development by night, providing an inviting and comfortable environment. The volumes of each building are accentuated by soffit uplights that create a floating effect and guide the visitors toward the central courtyard.

We also provided electric lighting design for key public spaces of the interior. Office space is lit by an array of glare-less downlights arranged on a 1.5m grid and core walls cast in concrete are illuminated with concealed linear lighting.

In the art gallery, we make sure sunlight is excluded while visitors can still see the sky through ceiling scrim and skylight glass.