The Youth Olympic Centre masterplan expresses the continuity, fluidity and connectivity between the urban environment of Hexi New Town, the agricultural farmland along the Yangtze river and the rural landscapes of Jiangxinzhou Island. An additional proposal by Zaha Hadid Architects includes a pedestrian bridge to link the plaza with the other side of the river.
The Youth Olympic Centre occupies a site area of 5.2 hectares with a construction floor space of 465,000 square metres. The taller of the two towers is 314 metres/68 floors high and contains office floors and a five-star hotel. The shorter tower is 255 metres/59 floors in height and will house a hotel for the conference centre on Youth Olympic Plaza. The two towers share a five-level, mixed-use podium.
The Conference Centre houses a conference hall, multipurpose rooms, meeting rooms, exhibition areas, restaurants, a VIP zone and some retail areas. The four major program elements (Conference Hall, Concert Hall, Multifunctional Hall and VIP Zone) are independent volumes surrounding the courtyard. These four elements then merge into a singular whole at higher levels, allowing pedestrians to walk through an open landscape at ground level. The Conference Hall seats 2,100 and is equipped with a multi-purpose proscenium stage for cultural and theatrical events. The Concert Hall seats 500 and is optimized for both acoustic orchestral performances and also shows using audio equipment.
The towers create a dynamic transition from the vertical of the urban CBD to the horizontal topography of the river. The taller tower signifies the position of the Youth Olympic Plaza both within the urban grid of Hexi New Town and on the Nanjing Skyline. The natural landscapes of the river are connected to the urban streetscape of the new CBD through the fluid architectural language of the mixed-use podium and conference centre. This architectural composition juxtaposes the vertical (city) and horizontal (river and landscape).
At the interface between tower and podium, the glass facade gradually transforms into a grid of rhomboid fibre-concrete panels, giving the large surfaces of podium and conference centre a solid and sculptural appearance; underlining the dynamic character of the form and providing daylight to the building’s interior.