title: Ports 1961 Shanghai
location: Shanghai, China
use: retail
size: 1145 sqm
number of stories: 3
structure: Steel, Concrete, Glass Block
completed: 2015
photographer: Shengliang Su

Located at a major high-end commercial district at the intersection of Changde Road and Nanjing West Road in Shanghai, a new façade is created for the fashion house Ports 1961’s flagship store. The facade represents the future vision of Ports 1961, bringing together its origin and evolution. Demonstrating possibilities of design experimentation through the transformation of form, material, and technology while still bringing an aspect of both traditional and contemporary interpretations. While evoking the idea of a landform, an iceberg, floating freely in the ocean. It gives the building a sense of being undulated, expanding and contracting, as if shaped by its environment.

The facade composed of two types of glass blocks; a standard 300mm x 300mm glass block and a custom 300mm x 300mm x 300mm corner glass block. Unlike most glass block masonry constructions, it is not limited to one vertical plane. The combinations of the two types of glass block create a sculpted three-dimensional façade exhibiting cantilevered structures. By incorporating innovative structural engineering and a new joining system in the block itself, an elaborate ornamental stepping canopy is achieved that naturally angles to the flow of pedestrian and allows for four bow windows to be visible from all directions.

The usage of satin glass block and shot-blasted stainless steel mutes the surroundings while subtly reflecting the sunlight. In the evening, the view is icy and crisp, and the surface illuminates with embedded LED lights integrated into the joints of the masonry. The result is a facade that engages with the transformative nature of the people and the city of Shanghai.