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Global Architecture & Masterplanning – Foundations For The Future

The last few years have been unique in ways people could never have imagined as the global pandemic had an effect on people all around the world across every sector. Architects and masterplanners in every corner of the globe had to take stock and decide how best to move forward in a world forever changed. Over the coming few pages RLI takes a closer look at a selection of projects from around the world that highlight the changes in mixed-use developments and how the design of these schemes is more important than ever.

At its simplest level, a masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Great provinces and historic cities are often held up as prime examples of masterplanning, however current masterplanning practice is a relatively recent development. It faces a number of different challenges to historic masterplanning such as the fact cities are changing at a faster rate than ever before, the make-up of our societies is changing and with this there is an ongoing shift in the cultural expectations and requirements of the urban realm. We have moved away from a stabilised vernacular culture in terms of technology, ethnicity, aspiration, economy, density, etc. Land allocation and land use now follow different economic, civic and political structures. The advancement of technology means that the way space is used is undergoing significant change and the population in many key countries and cities is increasing rapidly.

There are two main types of masterplan:

  1. A strategic masterplan – This might identify how an entire country, region or group of cities might be regenerated or changed in order to meet a perceived challenge. Public sector clients tend to be more likely to undertake strategic masterplans which may be commissioned by a government department or regional board in order to help shape policy.
  2. A project masterplan – This tends to be focused on a specific site with definable boundaries. A project masterplan might be commissioned by a developer with a piece of land to exploit, or by an estate wishing to tackle a backlog of defects or alter its building stock to respond to changing requirements.

The above are the viewpoints and thoughts of Andrew Comer from Buro Happold and Steven Smith from urban narrative on the Designing Buildings Wiki page ‘Masterplanning’ and over the next few pages RLI will show a varied selection of schemes that highlight both of these types of masterplan and how architecture around the world is helping to shape new and unique retail real estate developments.

Global Projects

Set to open this month and located in the upscale community of Hoakalei, Wai Kai is a new lifestyle destination that will be unlike any other waterfront development on the island of O’ahu. With more than 100 shops, restaurants and entertainment, Wai Kai will be a new gathering place where visitors can connect to both land and ocean. Designed by CallisonRTKL, Wai Kai’s retail environment is designed to cater to everyone from local residents to international and domestic visitors. The wide range of offerings spread throughout Wai Kai showcase signature restaurants and shops that feature Hawaii’s local flavours. In connection to the island’s beautiful landscape, Wai Kai incorporates a variety of lush greenery, Hawaiian plants and koi ponds to create an oasis-like environment. Wai Kai at Hoakalei is destined to become an active year-round destination where residents and visitors can experience these first-of-their-kind attractions, signature events and be at one with the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean.
The Well, dubbed as the most ambitious mixed-use endeavour in Canada, is being developed by RioCan and Allied Properties and designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. The scheme is located in the heart of Toronto’s west end. Bordering Front, Spadina and Wellington, the design includes 1.1 million square feet of office space, 500,000sq ft of retail and food services and 1,700 residential units spread throughout six buildings connected to a three-level retail base. With the retail and office components launching last year, the residential element is on course to open this year and mark final completion on the project, The Well will become a complete and unique mix of shops, restaurants, fresh food markets, workspaces and residencies that set the stage for innovative collaborations and meaningful experiences in culture, entertainment, community and wellness. The Well has achieved Platinum-level WIRED certification from WireScore for their building’s best-in-class digital connectivity, technological infrastructure and commitment to emerging digital trends.

A game-changing retailtainment destination, 11 SKIES will be Hong Kong’s largest hub for retail, dining and entertainment and the first to combine wealth management and wellness services in one complete ecosystem. Opening in phases from 2022 to 2025 by New World Development, it is set to bring brand new experiences for consumption, entertainment and wellness services to everyone. 11 SKIES will bring together 3.8 million square feet gross floor area; 2.6 million square feet of retail space, encompassing over 800 shops and more than 120 dining concepts; 570,000sq ft of experience-based entertainment facilities including immersive, fun and interactive role-play learning experiences at KidZania and Grade-A office towers. Strategically located right next to the Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, 11 SKIES will benefit from a high volume of passengers who travel through Hong Kong International Airport, which recorded 71.5 million in 2019 and will become a centrepiece within the GBA ‘one-hour living circle’ and a gateway to the rest of the world.

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Shibuya Upper West Project, Tokyo, Japan
Developer: Tokyu Group

Snøhetta has unveiled the design for its largest project in Japan to date, a mixed-use development in Tokyo offering retail, a hotel and art and cultural experiences. The 117,000sq m Shibuya Upper West Project by developers Tokyu Group is located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Billed as the city’s newest ‘urban retreat’, it is scheduled for completion in 2027. “In such a well-known and historically significant area in one of the world’s most exciting cities, the project is paying homage to and respecting traditions as well as looking ahead,” said Robert Greenwood, Partner and Managing Director of Snøhetta Hong Kong. “We aim to design for the future and aspire to find the most sustainable solutions, contributing to Japan’s goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050.” The project will be developed in collaboration with the adjacent Bunkamara cultural complex, which promotes art and culture throughout Tokyo. According to a news release, the 36-storey building pays tribute to “the distant foothills of Mount Fuji”. Snøhetta plans to achieve the highest possible sustainability ratings for the Shibuya Upper West Project.

The largest city-centre project in Europe, Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier is set to become a new urban community hotspot. Encompassing a unique culture, leisure, entertainment and dining offer, it will feature a 10-screen flagship cinema, beauty and wellness centres, international and local restaurants, bars and cafés and the latest trends in entertainment technology. This mixed-use urban district will feature flexible offices with 360° views over HafenCity and the harbour, modern apartments with direct access to the waterfront, three hotels and a 200-store shopping centre offering the best local and international brands together with a wide range of services and digital innovations, for an enhanced customer journey. The shopping centre itself will span 80,500sq m of retail, leisure and restaurant space and it is set to open in the first half of 2024 by developers Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The scheme will expand the Hamburg City metropolitan area by 40 per cent and the proportion of public and publicly accessible private open spaces is 38 per cent.

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The Ellinikon, Athens, Greece
Developer: Lamda Developments

Under construction by Athens-based firm Lamda Development, The Ellinikon Park is slated to be Europe’s greatest urban regeneration project and a large portion of the park is due for completion in 2025. One section – the Experience Park – is already open to the public after launching in December last year. Once completed, the larger than Hyde Park in London, two million square metre The Ellinikon Park along the Athenian Riviera will be able to handle over 500,000 visitors a day. A main attraction will be a 56m wide promenade connecting Vouliagmeni Avenue with the coastal front through The Ellinikon. Developers expect the park will have multiple benefits contributing to the improved standard of living, to the microclimate and the environment and serving as a main tourist attraction. Situated within the scheme will be the exquisite world of Riviera Galleria, with over 20,000sq m of deluxe shopping, exceptional dining and first-class entertainment space, the most premium retail scene in Greece will become the jewel of the Athenian Riviera attracting visitors from all over the world.

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Battersea Power Station, London, UK
Developer: Battersea Power Station Development Company

Battersea might be the last of the great UK shopping centres to open, if it is, it would be quite a scheme to end on. The power station opened on 14 October 2022 and is a modern mix of over 100 stores, dining, leisure, medical, wellness, co-working and offices. The original control rooms in both the 1930s and 1950s sides are being retailed to serve as cool dining/drinking locations and the architecture unsurprisingly, is the star. The power station is at the heart of a much wider redevelopment of the south west London site, with several stages of its residential and convenience retail and leisure plans already complete and a new London Underground station open. However, the iconic power station will inevitably be the standout. Control Room B, built in the 1950s and featuring stainless-steel control panels arranged in an arc is to become a fashionable bar on reopening. Brands including Ray-Ban, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, The Kooples, Aesop and Calvin Klein will be opening among more than 100 shops, bars and restaurants, 254 apartments, office space as well as a leisure offering that includes the Chimney Lift experience. Developed by Battersea Power Station Development Company, the scheme is also home a new six-acre riverfront that is open to the public.

Developer Argent Related has announced the sales launch of the first, highly anticipated homes at Brent Cross Town, London’s 180-acre, £7bn new park town. Overlooking five acres of open green space, The Ashbee and The Delamarre will together offer 277 new homes featuring timeless design and superior quality. The first phase of the development, Claremont Park and a new parade of local shops opened in spring 2022. Construction is also underway on the new Brent Cross West station, with construction set to be completed imminently. The first phases will also include around 1,000 new homes for sale and rent, as well as affordable homes, up to one million square feet of offices, new sport and play facilities, shops and restaurants and a new primary school.

Located off Lusail City in Qatar, Qetaifan Island North by Qetaifan Projects was designed to be Qatar’s future iconic destination. The project spans approximately 1.3 million square meters, with 129,296sq m of waterpark alone. The island also features exciting entertainment attractions that the whole family can enjoy, in addition to diversified waterfronts, distinct neighbourhoods, luxurious hotels, pedestrian friendly streets, living gardens and world-class facilities that make it a modern, globally-competitive community with a unique design that is inspired by the rich culture and nature of the region. The retail services on the island include F&B, edutainment and entertainment in addition to the souq, a market inspired by the Qatari culture that overlooks the Linear Park, offering a unique shopping experience for the whole family. The entertainment landmark was fully inaugurated at the landmark FIFA World Cup 2022 in November.

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The Sustainable City, YITI, Doha, Qatar
Developers: Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and Diamond Developers

Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and Diamond Developers have joined forces to develop a world-class, mixed use project that meets the highest standards of social, environmental and economic sustainability, the tourism project called Yiti. The two companies have formed a joint venture called Sustainable Development Investment Company (SDIC) and the agreement will see the development of the first phase of the Yiti Tourism masterplan. The first phase of the Yiti project will cover an area of one million square metres and will focus on constructing the sultanate’s first fully sustainable mixed-use project. This phase will include green public spaces, residencies, tourism, commercial and educational facilities, all tied together with well-balanced and integrated components. Visitors and residents will be able to enjoy a variety of lifestyle experiences such as restaurants, cafés, shops, an equestrian centre and a farm. The project is slated for completion by 2025.

Overlooking the Arabian Gulf ’s crystal blue waters, Bahrain Marina links Manama’s business hubs, traditional souqs, touristic and cultural districts. Bahrain Marina is designed to be a beautiful waterfront offering with limitless possibilities for each and every individual. With no opening date yet, the upcoming development by Bahrain Marina Development Company, Bahrain Marina is a place where people can strengthen their relationships with their community and reinforce their social and professional connections. One part of the overall development is the Boardwalk Shopping, where visitors can enjoy a unique shopping experience along the coast with outlets to compliment the Bahrain Marina lifestyle. A wide range of shops and stores are dotted along the boardwalk overlooking the sea, allowing an unparalleled experience unlike any other. With over a thousand parking spaces and an ample view of the water, seaside shopping is an exciting new concept for Bahrain’s retail sector, creating a serene getaway.