The Solar Trees Marketplace conceptualised by Koichi Takada demonstrates that it is possible to transform one of the world’s most polluted and congested urban environments into a healthier and more sustainable place to live through a nature-inspired approach.
Located in the Minhang District, Shanghai, Solar Trees Marketplace is a mixed-use development that is spread across 3450 sqmts. The project, inspired by the rich landscape and forests of Shanghai, will feature 32 architectural tress along with natural tress to form a canopy of solar panels and timber branches. “We want to humanise buildings in the district, to be more engaging to the public and contribute to the regeneration of communities and their neighbourhoods. We want architecture to celebrate cultural identity, along with encouraging pedestrian activities and a more walkable and liveable city,” says Koichi Takada. The project also references China’s commitment to be Carbon Neutral by 2060, setting a new benchmark for mixed-use residential developments.
The project is distinguished by its biophilic structure — the man-made solar trees along with natural trees will provide shelter and shade while allowing natural light and fresh air to permeate the marketplace. The solar panels generate power for the entire project, making it an entirely sustainable structure.
The project with its inclusion of modular market stalls sets a template for the future of traditional Chinese marketplaces. “It resonates with the Chinese tradition of making guests feel at home – bīn zhì rú guī – by generating a powerful sense of community by integrating the public and private domains.
Fifty camphor trees will mark the beginning of green corridor that runs through the masterplan. Three thousand trees and shrubs indigenous to Shanghai, including white Magnolia, Gingko and Camphor will be part of this project making it an extension of the natural landscape. The solar canopy filters the sunlight through to allow people to enjoy the experience of shopping outdoors.