Meixi Urban Helix, Changsha

How do we design a symbol for a growing city of millions?

With a population of around eight million, Changsha is one of the fastest growing cities in southeast China. As in many other big cities, it is primarily residential and office buildings that define the cityscape, with barely any space left between them for the development of attractive public spaces for residents. Our idea was to create a walk-on architectural sculpture in the form of a double spiral – as a symbol for the major urban development project on Meixi Lake.

The “Meixi Urban Helix” consists of a six-meter-wide, walk-on ramp that curls 30 meters into the air in the form of two spirals that run in opposite directions to each other. The route leads visitors from an axis of green reaching all the way to the city center along the lakeshore road to the island on the west shore of the lake. With its two spirals that meet at the highest point, the walk-on sculpture forms a sequence of diverse outdoor spaces. Along the route, which is approximately a kilometer long, visitors continually discover new perspectives on the new urban district and the 40-hectare lake.

The forecourt with its stepped seating arranged in circular form is similar to an amphitheater and is suitable for outdoor events. Cafes, exhibition spaces and an info point enhance the services on the island and mark the end point of the helix. The striking structure is visible from far away, and with its delicate steel construction it enhances the lakeside promenade and defines the modern panorama of the city.

In an architectural sculpture people can walk on, we bring the city’s dynamic development to life.

Project: Meixi Urban Helix, Changsha

Client: City of Changsha

Area: approx. 20,000 m²

Spiral length: approx. 1 kilometer

Height: 30 m

Diameter: approx. 88 meters

Competition: 01/2014, 1st prize

Completion: 03/2017

Awards: AL Design Awards 2018 Commendable Achievement Exterior Lighting Iconic Awards 2018 Innovative Architecture - Winner

Photos: Marcus Bredt

“The spiral-shaped sculpture is a landmark for the city that fosters a strong sense of identity.”

An expressive, memorable design and intelligent usage – that’s the way to create a contemporary landmark.

Relevant themes from architecture and urban planning

The city as an infinite project

Driving Innovation Together