Trahan Architects
The mixed-use project will include retail, office, residential and entertainment spaces.
Trahan Architects
The development is adjacent to Erqi Tower, a double pagoda that is Zhengzhou's main tourist attraction.

Trahan Architects has been selected by the Henan Hongguang Industry Group to design an $880-million mixed-use project in Zhengzhou, the capital and largest city of China's Henan province.

The Baton Rouge, La.-based firm's design concept envisions a 4.3-million-sq-ft complex, with two sloping, flat-top towers and a large atrium. It will occupy a 6.9-acre triangular site in the city's main shopping district, adjacent to Erqi Tower, a 14-story double pagoda that is the city's primary tourist attraction.

Trahan is a 20-year-old firm led by Victor "Trey" Trahan. The project in Zhengzhou is its first project outside the U.S., although the firm previously has won several design competitions in China.

Several developments paved the way for the firm's entry into China. A Chicago-based partner who joined Trahan brought to bear his experience at Skidmore Owings & Merrill on a series of convention-center projects in China.

Another factor was "the expansion of the firm to Los Angeles, where we were joined by Ted Tu, an experienced project manager with family and business connections in Liaoning province in northeast China," says Trahan. Trahan established an office in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, in 2011.

"As a result, we were able to make contact with local developers and build relationships that led to our selection," Trahan explains.

The project currently is undergoing final review by the city government. Trahan adds, "We anticipate moving into schematic design within the next few months and would anticipate, as is typical with Chinese development, a rapid design and development process. The client has not clarified the construction start at this point."