Global architecture firm Aedes has conceptualized a new mixed-use high-rise in an urban area of China that could allow residents to live, work, relax, and shop, all without ever leaving the building.

Designed to help revitalize the Ba Gua Ling industrial zone at the heart of Shenzhen, the 55-story construction features a retail podium on the first few levels, with two towers that grow upward before splitting into four above a sky-park level. Calling it Shirble – The Prime (after the Chinese Department store that would be housed below), one of the building’s towers would be for offices and the other three for residential apartments.

The basic design inspiration for the high-rise was the Golden Winged Great Peng, a Chinese Buddhist eagle guardian who redeemed himself from his evil ways after listening to the Buddha’s teachings. He was then made the spiritual uncle to the Buddha and was said to have watched over all the world as he guarded the exalted throne of the great teacher.

Shenzhen’s Ba Gua Ling district used to be a hub for the printing industry but has since seen a lot of urban blight and increasing vacancy rates. By calling on the Peng imagery, Shirble – The Prime hopes to make the area prosperous and desirable place once again. The roof lines of the towers mimic the wings of the Great Peng spreading up to the sky, while the lower levels incorporate lined details reminiscent of a bird’s feathers. And with its sheer height (about 820 feet), the complex looks out over the city just like the protector eagle watching over all from the top of the world.

The new complex has been thoughtfully laid out relative to the surrounding landscapes and transportation systems, taking into account both cross-ventilation and the maximization of interior views.

The housing options include various unit sizes from large apartments to small lofts, while a “sky park” (itself situated about 500 feet above ground) provides outdoor space for walking and gathering. Also on that level will be a gym, clubhouse, sky garden, and other recreational amenities. Residents, employees, and shoppers can also find spaces to socialize in the retail podium, which will feature both indoor and outdoor common areas.

The architectural details of the structure are geometric, dissected by the more organic shape of the retail pavilion and sky park levels. The rounded rectangle balconies of the residential towers, decked out with silver-white aluminum finishes, contrast with the asymmetrical, flowing lines of the tree-topped pavilion and park.

Greenery adorns several other levels as well, providing a connection to the natural world as well as creating a little extra oxygen for the residents and employees. For its innovative design bringing so many aspects of life under one roof, Aedes won the 2020 International Property Award for Best International Residential High-Rise Architecture.

The firm was founded in 2002, with headquarters in Hong Kong and more than 1,200 employees spread among their 12 offices around the world. Their mission is to let their design practice be driven by the global sharing of research, knowledge, and practice to tailor their developments to local needs.