Working with SOM San Francisco, TLS designed a new set of pedestrian plazas to organize this digital marketing center, a hotbed of technology flourishing in an ancient city surging with the density of daily life. The design concerns the contrasts and collisions between state-of-the-art digital media and the humble materials of daily life as it has existed for centuries. Most of the new outdoor spaces are sunken five meters below the level of the street as an “excavation”. Overhung by SOM’s crystalline boxes, the design of the ground involves digging to uncover a new place rich with historic, rustic and recycled materials, such as the astonishing inventory of metal, stone, brick, and timbers recovered from the Three River Gorge Project. Organizing the center is a very compressed and dense version of this idea, a graphic “carpet” of these materials carved as a 200-meter bas-relief and flanked by a forest of timber bamboo.
The carpet unfolds like a “flip movie” of urban materials and the associations they provoke – lotus pools, intricate stone weaving, burned logs, recycled timbers, rubber blocks, metal grating are cut through by a flush “data stream” LED zipper sign which runs the length of the project. The “data stream” invites the urban reflections of Chinese digital artists and poets.