SOM designs new waterfront neighbourhood for China’s most liveable city

Recently connected to Hong Kong and Macau via the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world, Zhuhai  has emerged as an eco-conscious city in the coastal region known as the Greater Bay Area. 


Zhuhai has been named as the most liveable city in China by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and plays a pivotal role in the region’s growing tech hub.

In an effort to transform the city’s waterfront and create a blueprint for future development, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was selected fto create Jiuzhou Bay - a new 5.6m sq ft mixed-use neighbourhood that features hotel, retail, offices, residences and infrastructure.

The design sets a new standard for public transit in the region, with plans for a transportation hub that offers connections to land, sea, and rail across more than 40 acres. It also features five modular canopies that envelop three sides of a 1.8m sq port, creating a series of covered pedestrian alleyways, a lively retail environment and interlinked courtyards along the waterfront promenade. 

“The forms of the canopies are inspired by the local legend of the Fisher Girl and reflect the fishing nets commonly seen on the coastline throughout the region,” said SOM Design Director Sean Ragasa. “We wanted our design to resonate with the culture and history of Zhuhai, and to evoke a story that’s familiar to everyone who lives there.”

Complementing the site’s maritime heritage is a 1,045-foot-tall tower comprising 35 floors of office space topped by a 20-story Ritz-Carlton Hotel complete with a skybar and observation deck. The tower is diagonally bisected by an axis that appears to peel open the facade, revealing a vertical atrium that offers visitors views of the bay.

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