The project team confronted the challenge of working within the owner's budget while incorporating cutting-edge 3D design talent to work with materials new to the region.

The resulting 3-million-sq-ft retail and residential development features a 1,114-ft-long ethene-co-tetrafluoroethene (ETFE) membrane canopy that cuts between 645,000 sq ft of retail space and shields a retail street. The canopy terminates outside the courtyard of two 330-ft-tall residential towers. Located in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, the New Town complex is in the middle of a large transportation interchange linking Macau, Hong Kong and China.

The design team says the project's biggest challenge was meeting the owner's high design expectations, which required bringing in a new structural engineer to design the ETFE canopy.

Project Team

Owner: Huafa Industrial Share Co. Ltd.

Contractor: China Construction First Building (Group) Corp.

Lead Design Firm: HOK

Architect of Record and Structural Engineer: Huafa Architectural Design Consultancy Ltd.

Canopy Steelwork Engineer: DeSimone