Urban Designer, Architect and Researcher

Shenzhen HG Science Park

International Restricted Competition



  • In colaboration with: GUALLAR ARCHITECTS, ZHU TAO



Embracing Hong Kong

This project establishes creating a science park on both sides of the Shenzhen river, one promoted by Hong Kong, and another promoted by Shenzhen. The site next to the Huanggang Port must be potentially connected to the city, but at the same time it must be limited by an access system for authorized people.
For this reason, we propose creating a water channel that defines a circle, a loop around the river, and that embraces both parks in Hong Kong and Shenzhen in a single geometry. This artificial channel located on a higher level than the river, will allow nature and biodiversity to develop along its route, and will also create an invisible barrier between the city and the science park.
Therefore, the Loop is an element that unites and separates at the same time.


Reinventing how science is developed: Urban, Mixed, and Natural

The Development of science, beyond the academic environment is a recent Human invention, developed by people, companies, governments and universities. Its location in the territory (whether in nature, in the suburbia or in the urban center), that is, with isolated buildings, large complexes, or campus buildings, defines the character of how science will develop and can attract more or less individuals and organizations.

The LOOP SCI-PORT is an exceptional project because it is developed in an urban center, built as a large public promotion campus that will contain multiple organizations and is hybridized with nature. In this way, just as Oxford, MIT, IBM or Stanford and recently Skolkovo have defined new paradigms for the development of science, Shenzhen and Hong Kong can do it again in the Huanggang Port.
The current scientific buildings tend to be organized in compact blocks with a central void, to create spaces for Research (in the blocks) and human relationship (in the courtyards).


The Open Grid for a cross-disciplinary Science

The water culture of Shenzhen and Hong Kong develops around rivers and ponds that allow fish or food to grow. It is a productive natural mesh. In our case, the most important aim for science park’s urban design is to enable the maximum flexibility to host various scientific activities and in-depth integrated, open and cross-disciplinary fusion, the biggest trends for the 21st century scientific development. And for this reason we have used a mesh with bars of 24 meters in width and patios of 36 that can vary their dimensions according to interest. The mesh is a structure created to connect, to establish relationships and synergies between the parts. This mesh could have multiple configurations, from isolated buildings to large-scale continuous complexes.

The basic unit for creating the grid are the block and the patio.
Blocks have a variable width of between 2o to 30 m. The patio has an average size of 36x36m


Functions based on the location

To decide the final version of the grid that we propose, we have analyzed the influences of the urban structures of the environment, with the central green corridor, the canal and the river. And for this reason we have proposed a simple grid with streets perpendicular to the river and a central boulevard around which the laboratories will be developed and the Forum will be located.

The end result is an open grid system, that reacts to the urban conditions, with 12 neighborhoods to maximize the flexibility for different sizes of labs and companies across 3 clusters.
Each neighborhood is co-located with dry and wet labs, offices and exchange hub, enabling the community development across all clusters, forming a Urban Ville for researchers.



Network of private & public spaces

The grid also offers 112 urban voids, which can define relationship spaces, both in public space and inside buildings. The spaces can be classified into indoor courtyards, sharing knowledge, nature proximity, pocket gardens, commercial activity.

In this way. The open grid system spawn a dense networked public spaces system activate the high-frequency meet-ups thus fully stimulate the cross-disciplinary exchange.
If the activity spaces of the built bars are related, and the activity spaces of the “voids”, a vibrant system is created where both scientific work and social interaction are stimulated.


The City promotes Biodiversity

During century city has grown against the nature. But now there is no more space for it. LOOP SCI-PORT creates a great opportunity allowing to build an urban border along the river, which acts as an extension of nature. It must be a place that encourages biodiversity and allows life to grow. It’s a place that will restore the native riverside wetland to be the productive landscape to nurture the brain work, as well as patching the missing link of SZ-HK green corridor.

To make this possible, it is proposed to create an artificial wetland on the podium rooftop with walking trails to promote biodiversity and will be bird friendly.
The height of the podium, 36 meters, is defined by the ability of the river birds to fly at low altitudes.

The metamorphosis from the city to the nature in 3 dimensions

The scientific park is defined as a space of metamorphosis on the knowledge of the world, in continuous evolution, It is also a place for the metamorphosis between the city and nature, which takes place in three dimensions:

Holistic spaces for science nurture: Research, Relation, Relax

When developing a scientific campus, a holistic way to stimulate the human mind to make it as creative as possible must be created.
For this, at least three types of spaces and places must be created:

The Science Park as an Ecological machine

The Science Park will be like an extension of nature, because it will use natural systems to supply and regulate itself. The project defines multiple systems:
Water cycle: The entire water cycle is a regulated system: the wetland water on the podium acts as a rain retention system and is connected with the canal and with irrigation tanks. 50% of the total surface of the project allows absorb water into the subsoil.
Courtyards: Courtyards act as potential regulators of the temperature they are transition spaces between indoor and outdoor, as well as channels for natural ventilation, when required.
The facade works as a system that filters the sun and the temperature, controlling the lighting inside, as well as the views.
The streets sections have a 1: 1 ratio so that correct lighting is allowed to arrive to buildings, but at the same time they have areas of sun and shadow during most of the day.
The wetland cover, and its vegetation, and the green cloud nests, are also elements that promote biodiversity, and create a good temperature around the buildings.


Connectivity Strategy


An Engine for Regional Innovation

As Shenzhen aspires to become China’s Silicon Valley, the LOOP SCI-PORT can become an equivalence to Stanford Research Park (SRP) - “an engine for Silicon Valley” (Stanford University Investment Report, 2016). SRP was established in 1951 as a joint initiative between Stanford University and the City of Palo Alto. Located in a land of 2.8 km², supported by the social, financial services of San Francisco Bay Area and the incentive policies offered by Palo Alto and Santa Clara County, the Park utilized Stanford’s R&D resources to boost the birth and boom of Silicon Valley.

LOOP SCI-PORT, along with HK LOOP and the surrounding areas, is an initiative made by SZ government in collaboration with Hong Kong. With its land size, social environment and knowledge industry set-ups similar to those of SRP, it has a potential to become an innovation engine for the Greater Bay Area.


MasterPlan & Spatial Structure

Architectural Programming

Technical Indicators

Public open space & green space system


3D Urbanism


The Science Park as an Urban Ville

The Scientific Park has been developed with an urban structure so that in the future it can be fully integrated with the city. Its streets have a wheelbase of between 100 to 150, allowing a large number of spatial relationships, urban routes, and connections between buildings.

New Trends of Science Parks

Science parks today face new challenges that must be addressed by their design:

Place Science in the Territory


A 24 hours city

The Science Park works as an urban environment that can function 24 hours a day, because people can live, work and rest. Therefore, it is a true city within the city that encourages a slow life. It is this state of mind that can stimulate creation, invention, and concentration to drive the development of science.



Laboratories are the places where research is conducted under very precise working conditions. The spaces for work and the technologies to be used predetermine the dimensions of the laboratories. In the most recent buildings, linear blocks between 24 and 28 meters wide are used, with heights ranging from three to eight floors.
In our project we propose blocks of variable width between 22 and 30, with a height of seven stories and heights between floors of 5 meters.

Sections: Diversity in the Urban Structure

The cross and longitudinal sections show a great diversity of spatial relationships that develops in urban space, creating multiple interior landscapes and also in relation to the exterior

Blocks and Courtyard Buildings: diversity at design

The Blocks and patios allow a great diversity of designs inside, creating intermediate scale of relationship within the blocks and special configurations, which provide specific identity inside the patios.

Podium Deck as Wetland

On the podium deck we propose a restoration of the original natural environment on the edge of the Shenzhen River. The landscape is defined as a wetland that attracts the aquatic species of the environment and will create a space for reflection and inspiration for scientists.

The Cloud Nest

Wooden clouds with vegetation have been created, in order to propose the hybridization between architecture and nature and to be the natural expansion of natural systems towards height.

These spaces are accessed with direct elevators from the street, or from the wetland level of the podium.
Cloud nests are built using an 8x8x4.5 meter mesh and have livable interior spaces, generally of a spatial structure, including small lagoons in which nature can grow. At the top of the structure there is space where some larger trees can grow.
Cloud Nests are part of the space for interpersonal relationships, or spaces for promoting science that the Forum represents. They can host start ups, spaces for university students, a library, restaurants, spaces for the valorization of science, spaces for executives, for project presentations and, in general, non-research activities that help to expand the limits of science.



Guallart Architects: Vicente Guallart, Yang Lei, Honorata Grzesikowska, Firas Safieddine, Elisabet Fabrega, Alaa Aldin Al Baroudi, Ahmad Adib Baalbaky, Bernat Ferrer BauzaAditi Udupa