1000 Trees
Following the success of the UK Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the studio was invited to design a large mixed-use development on a six-hectare site in Shanghai, surrounded on three sides by concrete residential towers and on the other side by Shanghai’s main art district and a public park. Following the trend in China towards increasingly enormous property developments, the team became convinced that a new large-scale building development of retail podiums and glass towers would not sit well next to the neighbouring art district, river and park. Instead they decided to see if this project could be an extension of these elements. Rather than focusing on the façade, the studio became interested in the rational grid of one thousand structural columns that a construction project of this scale would need for support. Normally hidden within a building, giving prominence to the columns rather than the facade might allow the bulk of the building to feel more articulated and less clumsy. This in turn led to the idea of transforming the top of every column into a large planter so that the project could have a balancing softness and variety to the inevitable hardness of modern construction. Arranged in varying heights across the site, the columns allow one thousand trees to be planted and create an undulating topography of balconies which reach upwards from the lowest point at the art district, park and river. The result is a clustered pair of structures integrating car parking, office space, shops, a school, hotel bedrooms and art galleries. On the south side this pair of new man made mountains is cut through, like termite mounds, to expose its insides to the surrounding city.


Tian An China Investments Company


Shanghai, China







Group Leader

 Lisa Finlay, Dani Rossello Diez

Project Leader

Thomas Impiglia, Fergus Comer, Jimmy Hung

Studio team

Christian Álvarez Gómez, Jeremy Backlar, Jordan Bailiff, Einar Blixhavn, Sarah Borowiecka, Mark Burrows, José Cadilhe, Yuxiang Cao, Rodrigo Chain, Linus Cheng, Ruggero Bruno Chialastri, Kacper Chmielewski, Leonardo Colucci, James Darling, Silvia Daurelio, Vincenzo D’Auria, Thomas Glover, Tamsin Green, Hayley Henry, Le Ha Hoang, Sheau-Fei Hoe, Xuanzhi Huang, Hao-Chun Hung, Leung Hung, Jessica In, Linnea Isen, Ben Jacobs, Catherine Jones, Madhav Kidao, Panagiota Kotsovinou, Wendy Lee, Nicolas Leguina, Shan Li, Jeroen Linnebank, Virginia Lopez Frechilla, Débora Mateo, Vichayuth Meenaphant, Dimitrije Miletic, Craig Miller, Sayaka Namba, Philipp Nedomlel, Regina Ng, Claudia Orsetti, Hannah Parker, Monika Patel, Daniel Portilla, Jeff Powers, Matthew Pratt, Enrique Pujana, Thomas Randall-Page, Ryszard Rychlicki, Emmanuelle Siedes Sante, Julian Saul, Osbert So, Skye Sun, Nicholas Szczepaniak, Cliff Tan, Kenneth Tagoe, May Tang, Ezgi Terzioglu, Chris Tsui, Ivan Ucros Polley, Paula Velasco Ureta, Paul Westwood, Simon Winters, Eda Yetis, Kelin Yue, Ezgi Terzioglu 


Alan Chandler, Arup, Basilica De La Sagrada Familia, GDC, Inhabit Group, Ingrid Hu, MLA Architects, Mode, Ltd, P&T Architects and Engineers Ltd, UEL, Rider Levett Bucknall, Urbis Limited, Speirs and Major Associates, Van Den Berk, Wah Heng Glass Group, Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design and Research, Wilf Meynell