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SOM Pen Glitzy Ningbo Hotel

The foundation stone has been laid for an unusual looking new building designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

Intended to be the Crowne Plaza Hotel with serviced apartments and a five star hotel, the scheme will stand on the busy intersection of 3 North Street and Park Avenue in Cixi Town. Although few people outside china will have heard of Cixi Town, it is actually a satellite city for Ningbo, which is the world's second busiest port buoyed by ever booming levels of Chinese trade and the modern equivalent of Victorian Liverpool.

With a total of 53 floors, the 208 metre tall building will be the first true skyscraper built in Cixi Town, a place where the previous high-rise architectural flavour was merely dozens of "commieblocks".

The main body of the building features a distinct shape of three diamond-shaped blocks extended vertically with voids in between and horizontal sections interlinking them creating sky bridges before the top eleven floors that make up one continuous block.

Rising from a triangular podium that will contain retail space, the Crowne Plaza Hotel has metallic cladding its outsides and contrasting transparent floor to ceiling glazing on the insides complete with exposed diagonal crossbracing behind the glass.

The end result perhaps resembles a modern over-sized piece of jewelry. Of course, in aesthetic terms the success of the building will much depend on the finish with the quality of the cladding determining whether it ends up gaudy or glitzy.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cixi Town
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cixi Town
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cixi Town
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cixi Town
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cixi Town
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cixi Town