Lane 189: A Vertical City Center Mixed-use Building in Shanghai


Architects: UNStudio
Location: Southeast corner of Changshou Road and Xikang Road, Putuo District, Shanghai, PR China
Completion date: December 2016
Photography: Hufton+Crow, Eric Jap

Lane 189, located in the Putuo district in central Shanghai – opposite Chang Shou Park and close to the Jade Buddha Temple – is designed to provide a lifestyle destination for Shanghai’s young professionals. Lane189 combines retail, restaurant and office spaces in an organisation that rearranges the typical mall into a vertical city centre and provides opportunities for shopping, strolling, eating, gathering and relaxing.

The design incorporates elements of ‘old Shanghai’ through geometry, pattern and materialisation and combines these with a contemporary urban experience, thereby creating a destination with a distinctly Shanghai feel.

The existing qualities of the immediate urban surroundings, which include small-scale restaurants and boutique stores, are reflected in the building, where they are stacked vertically to populate the envelope with programmatic destinations that can be seen from the street level.
Inside, elements of street life are mixed with lifestyle retail features and are distributed throughout the building. The organisation of the building encourages the visitor to stroll through and explore the different levels of the complex, where retail spaces follow an open layout and are punctuated with small kiosks.

Programmed Façade

The façade is designed to support the overall design concept of a programmed façade and to create depth for the building envelope. The use of multi-layered components provides a variety of views towards the surroundings, whilst simultaneously providing functional transparency in specifically located areas.

Based on a hexagonal grid, the façade components follow the articulated geometry of the building and provide constantly changing perspectives.

A gradient transition from bigger to smaller façade components regulates the exposure of the inside to the outside and enhances the main entrance of the building. The façade therefore becomes an integrated active layer that can be programmed as display windows, vista points or balconies.

On the lower façade, a hexagonal grid consists of diamond-shaped panels that are tied between pins, forming a tensioned cladding system. Here the arrangement of the components can change across the façade, from a single layer to a triple layer, up to a depth of 400 mm. Constructed from different materials and lit by RGB LEDs, these panels create different visual effects: transparent or opaque, colourful or monochrome, reflective or matte.

Urban Eyes

Large double-height façade openings present the interior programme to the outside world. These ‘urban eyes’ simultaneously create large display platforms for products whilst providing balconies with views to the surroundings.


The interior of Lane 189 derives its character from a central void which cuts through the volume from base to top and is punctuated by a series of rounded plateaus. When seen from below, the rounded plateaus resemble a cohesive layered organic structure; however, when looking down from above, the programmes of the plateaus are revealed.

These smaller pockets, positioned in a rotational manner, create intimate plazas and are visually connected to the urban eyes of the façade.

“The concept for Lane 189 was based on a direct response to urban Shanghai today and the wonderful fragmentation of impressions that you experience there. We wanted to imbed this in the building by creating an urban interior with the feel of a vertical public square. But in order to continue these ideas throughout, it was also essential to connect the interior with the outside and conceptually reflect these impressions in the design of the façade.”

Ben van Berkel

The central void further organises vertical circulation and orientation, creates view across the different levels and facilitates a clear view column from the second basement level up to the skylight art installation.

UNStudio, Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau
Severin Ignaz Tuerk, Kyle Ching-Yu Chou, Alexander Schramm, Adriana Rodriguez Ossio
Caroline Filice Smith, Lukas Allner, Tamim Salah EI Negm, Yuan Duran Zhai, Justin Tao Cheng, Cristina Gimenez, Bloom Shao Kai Hou, Eric Zhu, Yuwei Wang, Mingxuan Xie, Edwin Hang Jiang, Joerg Lonkwitz, Fabian Alejandr Mazzola, Deepak Jawahar, Juergen Heinzel, Praneet Verma, Gordana Jakimovska, Huaiming Liao, Gang Liu, Weihong Dong

Inhabit (facade)
Ag LICHT, LEOX Design (lighting)
TJAD (landscape)