Working in perfect harmony
Several Hong Kong-based companies, from architectural firms to real estate developers, have had an effect on Ningbo's property market by introducing new design ideas and projects.
Through the Guangbo Industrial Park Office, architectural design firm Ronald Lu and Partners espouses a harmonious integration of the surrounding green environment and landscape with the practical nature of the office block. The project represents a modern take on the traditional southern Chinese architectural style, according to John Cheng, a project architect of the company. The industrial park is located in Chehe, Shiqi Street, Yinzhou district, Ningbo.
'While establishing the corporate image of Guangbo Group through the architectural design, the project aims to reinforce the spirit of humanity in the master plan,' says Cheng, who is also a director at Ronald Lu.
'It centres on nature and people, following the distinctive Jiangnan [south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River] style of integrating architecture seamlessly with the landscape. The result is a harmonised working environment blended into a series of green spaces.'
The 10-storey office building, which has been used by Guangbo as its headquarters since 2009, was complemented by a 250-seat auditorium, perched next to a water body linked with a nearby brook. With the research and development complex and the staff canteen pavilion in the central part, these connected structures form the core architectural assemblage in the industrial park's master plan, he says. 'Guangbo has sought to create a brand with an emphasis on a quality working environment. The development was built in a central green spine with various amenities to highlight that the core structures were built for the people, while the loading bays and product delivery roadways are set on the peripherals.'
A man-made pond is built at the front area of the headquarters along with a galleria-like auditorium facing it. At its back is a small courtyard situated between the office block and the auditorium wing.
'These design elements were developed in the style of Jiangnan Literati gardens and their spatial culture. This reflects the core business nature of Guangbo, a leading manufacturer of office stationery, from paper printing to albums,' Cheng says.
In addition to architectural designs, two Hong Kong-based developers have tapped into the property market in Ningbo. The Citic Pacific Group owns Tower A of Pacific Plaza in the Jiangdong district of the city. Completed in 2009, the grade-A office tower has a gross floor area of 49,000 square metres and the occupancy rate was 72 per cent, according to the company's annual report. The Jiangdong district is close to the Ningbo Eastern New City, which has been developed as the future economic and political hub of the city.
Wharf Holdings has two residential projects in Ningbo under planning. The group holds a 50 per cent stake in each project. Attributable gross floor area of the Ningbo Xincheng (New City) is 49,000 square metres, while the Ningbo Baoqingsi project will have an attributable gross floor area of 39,000 square metres.