The mixed-use project will serve – among other things – as a tourist information centre and a monument with a panoramic platform. It will set a benchmark in the region and is expected to attract visitors from all over the world. At 177m tall, the building’s design steps away from the traditional vision of the gate and moves towards a more contemporary depiction. The concept behind the design is deeply rooted in the history of the city.
The design pays tribute to the geographical location of the city but also to its convergent spirit. Hangyang is a city where old and new and culture and modernity converge in many aspects. The joint towers represent the essence of humanity: fire. In religious tradition, it is said that Hengyang was the first to bear the mark of Zhu Rong, the God of Fire and South, whose story is contained in ‘Shan Hai Jing, The Great Wild West’.
Viewed upside down, the building becomes a goose flying through the sky. In ancient Chinese poetry, Hangyang was a winter refuge for wild geese escaping the cold of the north, earning it the nickname of the ‘Wild Goose City’.
Hengyang is not only a city with a rich cultural past but also the region’s second-largest city and a fast-evolving tech hub. The structural system of the gate will fully reflect the highest level of contemporary structural engineering technology. RMJM designers decided to reinterpret the “sustainable” architectural design from a more comprehensive perspective, rather than relying solely on the construction of natural spaces required by roadside buildings, which will affect the architectural design, surrounding environment and urban residents. The design embraces the local environment and forms an interaction between technology, climate, building materials and human behaviour.
“The relationship between architecture and the environment has always been a complex one,” says Jieha Qiu, CEO of RMJM Shanghai. He adds: “ To reach harmony between the two, we, at RMJM, use climate statistics and engineering parameters to study the most appropriate design forms so that we can shape the best and most suitable architectural forms under special environmental conditions.”
RMJM Shanghai’s design combines a timeless and modern aesthetic with flexible and sustainable technology and fully reflects the cultural essence of the city. The building harmoniously integrates its environment and represents a great opportunity for the tourism industry. The Xiangjiang Gate will act as a business card for the city of Hengyang.