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News releases 2012

Construction of the Atkins-designed Pacific Dream Plaza in Qingdao in northern China has begun. The river-side 300,000m² mixed use development is centred around a series of landscaped squares and paths and includes a 30-storey five star hotel tower, 1500 residential units and office and retail space.

Peter Ridley, Atkins’ senior design director, said: “This project presented a fascinating challenge because the area was partially enclosed by a river but it also gave us a great opportunity to create a remarkable  quarter in a new urban location. Through rigorous testing of the client’s needs we have created a development that is distinctive, functional and one with value as a new outdoor space amenity to the wider community.”

The development is enclosed on two sides by water and integrated into the surrounding neighbourhoods on its other faces. These boundary conditions presented a unique challenge for the architects as there were four ‘fronts’ to the development, meaning that façade design and building form had to be carefully modeled to integrate well in all directions. There was no opportunity for the ‘back door’ that heavily serviced mixed use projects might normally have. This also created complex traffic and servicing problems which the architects solved in collaboration with the Atkins’ traffic engineering team from its Hong Kong office.

The curvaceous building forms evolved from a comprehensive set of strategic concept studies and as they developed the architects worked with Atkins’ sustainability team at Faithful+Gould in Shanghai to boost the project’s low carbon credentials. This meant testing the sunlight, shading and wind conditions within the quarter to ensure the circulation within the retail buildings created a primary circulation loop. The idea was to connect indoor and outdoor spaces in the three distinct elements of the retail offering: the outdoor ‘lifestyle’ village, the department store and the enclosed mall.

Steven Hill, Atkins’ associate and project architect, said: “The design process gave us - and the client - great confidence in the solution that we generated. We tested in excess of 30 options at different scales and levels of detail - beginning with very rough models and then refining the designs in workshops. The key to the process was that it was not scattergun: strategic solutions were allowed to evolve and cross pollinate each other until we reached a design that everyone was happy with.”

Atkins’ Beijing studio undertook the architectural design from masterplanning through to detail design and was assisted by Atkins’ structural, traffic and sustainability teams in UK, Hong Kong and Shanghai.


For more information:  

Christina Zhuang
Communications Manager, Asia Pacific
+852 2972 1558 / Fax: +852 2890 6343

Jane Sheils
Group PR Manager
+44 1372 752350 / +44 7803 259 777

Notes to editors:

Atkins ( is one of the world's leading engineering and design consultancies*, employing some 17,700 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. It has the breadth and depth of expertise to plan, design and enable some of the world's most technically challenging and time critical infrastructure projects.

*It is the largest engineering consultancy in the UK (New Civil Engineer Consultants File 2011) and the 13th largest global design firm (Engineering News-Record 2011).

In BD’s World Architecture 100 survey for 2012, Atkins ranks the 15th largest architecture firm in the world by number of architects and the largest architecture firm by number of creative staff. (World Architecture 100 – Building Design)

Recent projects in Asia Pacific region include:

  • The Atkins’ Architecture and Urban Design Studio have recently won a design competition for 120,000m2 mixed-use development comprising a 5-star hotel, retail and office in Henqin new economic zone in Zhuhai, China and also a major 400,000m2 mixed-use office, hotel and residential design competition in Xiamen, China;
  • Atkins received two Architectural design awards at 2011 MIPIM Asia. Gold award for the Wonderland hotel in Songjiang, China, and Bronze award for the White City project in Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • Atkins developed the Sustainable Management Plan to obtain the LEED Green Building Certification for the Macau International Airport;
  • Atkins is working on the upgrading of Cheung Chau and Tai O Sewage Collection, Treatment and Disposal facilities to cope with the population growth and future development to improve the hygiene conditions within the catchments;
  • Atkins continues to work on the West Island Line, South Island Line, Shatin to Central Link and Express Rail Link projects through the detailed design and construction to assist MTRC to deliver the planned expansion of Hong Kong’s rail network;
  • Atkins did detailed design for Nam Fung Tunnel and two ventilation shafts for Nishimatsu, which was awarded the South Island Line C902, Nam Fung Tunnel and Ventilation Buildings contract. The tunnel is approximately 3.2 km long and extends across Hong Kong Island from Station (ADM) to Nam Fung Portal Ventilation Building (NFP) at Wong Chuk Hang;
  • Atkins provided independent safety assessment services to three Shanghai metro signalling projects in China and acted as the lenders technical advisor to the wining consortium for the Gold Coast Light Rapid Transit project in Queensland in Australia;
  • Atkins provided full systems assurance services for the Macau Light Rapid Transit System Phase 1 and the main contractor undertaking the Glenfield Leppington Rail Link works in New South Wales, Australia;
  • Atkins was appointed to support the Design and Build Contractor on 2 of the South Island Line (SIL) Contracts 965A and 965C for MEP works and won all MEP contracts for all the 5 stations and 3 ventilation buildings on the new MTR line;
  • Atkins is providing engineering design services to the Contractor for the 30m deep excavation and existing utility/structure impact assessment and designing for the contract 810A for the construction of the West Kowloon Terminus Station North, the largest contract of Express Rail Link project connecting Hong Kong to mainland China, with technical complication and challenge excavation in the urban Kowloon area.

Atkins was named among The Sunday Times 25 Best Big Companies to Work For 2011, won Consultancy of the Year in the CIBSE Low Carbon Performance Awards 2010, received the first ever certification of the Carbon Trust Standard awarded to an engineering consultancy in the construction sector, and was included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2011 and The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2010. Atkins was also construction and civil engineering sector winner for the fifth consecutive year in the Target National Graduate Recruitment Awards 2010 and was awarded a RoSPA Gold Award 2011 for excellence in control of health and safety in the workplace.