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Henglin Town Center
As part of a policy initiated by China's President Xi to build viable town centers in 200 third-tier cities north of Shanghai within the next three years, state-owned development company Calxon Urbanisation Company entrusted international architecture and interior design company dwp | design worldwide partnership to develop the concept for a new, green and sustainable community town center for the city of Henglin, located just two hours north of Shanghai.

Following a number of design workshops and listening sessions, and a study of successful US and Chinese retail examples, the Henglin City Living Room, an urban "central park," was designed by dwp with the aim of providing a healthy living environment and stimulating gathering place for the people of this city.

This city center development sits nestled amongst a number of high-rise residential developments, providing a true focal point for the local community. The new Henglin city center provides retail facilities, government offices and a cinema for the local people, a true mixed-use development. Located in the middle of this ensemble of interconnected buildings is the hotel, as the tallest landmark in and focal point of the development.

All levels of this low-rise community area are easily accessible, even the roofs, which act as parks that slope gently downwards to the ground level. These roof-level parks are dotted about with various restaurants and cafes. At the ground level, the aim was to create the feeling of a village shopping experience. There are numerous small, intimate spaces for people to meet. Sitting at the center of it all is the "community living room." This large central gathering space engages and inspires the local community by providing a place for people to come together for regularly scheduled events and activities. With a new public park being planned for the eastern edge of the site, this "building as a park" will visually blend seamlessly with the planned future developments for the city of Henglin.
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