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papalampropoulos syriopoulou

the "city within a city" project - COMMERCIALCOMPLEX

Status: International Architectural Competition / UIA, Creativersa
Program: Commercial, Leisure, Urban
Year: 2015
Location: Ruichang, China
Architect: Leonidas Papalampropoulos, Georgia Syriopoulou

Collaborator: Katerina Bounia

The theme of the Molewa competition is the proposal of a "new urbanization" strategy in China that seeks to evolve existing medium-sized population centers into "prosperous, sustainable, clean and rationally distributed “new cities”". The project is situated in a geographic context encompassing Mount Lu, Poyang Lake, and China’s so-called “Fourth Pole of Economic Development” and is mainly targeted in creating a new type of socioeconomic growth and a permanent exhibition and of world architecture as a tourist attraction in the form of 16 buildings with varying functions.

The shopping complex in plot No 5 is anticipated to form the new central social space for the citizens of Ruichang as its divercity of functions (Retail areas, Library, Auditorium, Gymnasium), size (double plot area) and location shapes a coherent public incubator for socio-economic growth that is able to transform a building into public realm.


The project adopts the “City within a City” concept as the main design strategy. in order to create an active social scenery that reproduces the city scale in a single building (microcosm).


“CITY WITHIN A CITY” project 3-fold concept:

1. “Mise en Abyme” Urbanism / The notion of a city that contains a smaller copy of itself can be traced in urban utopian and heterotopian paradigms such as the “Forbidden City” in Beijing and the Burail District in Chandigarh. The design adopts the enclosure of the “mise en abyme” scheme and the complexity of the internal organization in order to form a miniature version of the larger city area inside the plot No 5.


2. “De-Malling” the Mall / The design rejects the formal simplicity, the spatial homogeneity and the introvert character of the traditional mall and introduces the formal divercity and the spatial complexity of the city fabric inside the building form. Functions have been programmatically and formally segregated as autonomous city–buildings (library, cinema, gymnasium) shaped by their inner emblematic elements (bookshelves, auditoriums- imax, running truck). Public and retail areas are connected with the outer city, thus forming a fluid urban connective space produced by the ribbon structure. Pop-up structures emerge from the created void-space in order to adapt to the changing needs of the customers simulating the vibrant and unpredictable conditions of the urban scape. The mall becomes an extrovert public space that acquires a more open structure that pulls the surrounding areas inside, thus encouraging situational and spontaneous consumption along with targeted shopping. The commercial flexibility of the pop-up stores creates the right mix of attractive functions, focusing exactly on the elements of situational consumption (space, time, mood, season), ultimately producing a positive effect both from a commercial and social point of view through the notion of place-making in the life of the city.


3. “Layering Complexity” / The former have been incorporated in the design through a process of layering:

LAYER 1. Pop-Up Space (groundfloor) & open market

LAYER 2. Permanent Retail Area (ribbon space)

LAYER 3. Public Terrace – Leisure Area & Public Functions (Library, Cinema Complex, Gym)

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