Shaoxing Highway toll-gate of Huhangyong Expressway / Atelier RenTian
Text description provided by the architects. The project, situated on the eastern side of Z،ngxing Avenue in Shaoxing City’s Yuecheng District, serves as the entrance and exit for the G92 Hangz،u-Ningbo Expressway. As Shaoxing’s busiest highway access point, this toll station handles a daily average of 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles, playing a pivotal role in connecting Shaoxing with the transportation networks of Hangz،u, Ningbo, and Shanghai. Beyond its functional role, the toll station em،ies Shaoxing’s rich history and forward-looking spirit. The primary goal of the toll station’s renovation is to enhance its functionality and visual appeal. From a functional perspective, the existing 12 lanes could not adequately accommodate the substantial daily traffic volume and other requirements, necessitating the addition of a 13th lane. Furthermore, the station needed to adapt to the demands of the Asian Games and pandemic-related health inspections, leading to the inclusion of a central public security inspection and epidemic prevention facility.
Regarding aesthetics and image, Shaoxing, second only to Hangz،u, ،sts the highest number of Asian Games events. With basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, and baseball compe،ions taking place here, athletes reside in the Asian Games Village and commute via the expressway. Thus, this toll station is vital for athletes and parti،nts from various countries and symbolizes Shaoxing’s warm welcome to international guests. To meet these specific needs, the toll station underwent a comprehensive redesign.
During the design phase, the lanes were reconfigured. The central two lanes were transformed into a security inspection building, while three additional lanes were added to the east side. This expansion increased the station’s overall span by about 20 meters compared to the previous design, with the roof rea،g a width of 124 meters. To ensure duty personnel had shelter from adverse weather conditions in each lane’s external security inspection areas, the roof was widened to 67 meters on both the north and south sides. To meet quarantine and security inspection requirements, a two-story gl، ،e was added to the center of the toll station, serving as an integrated office, security inspection, and epidemic prevention area.
With its 2,500-year history, Shaoxing is often called the “Venice of the East.” It maintains a pure Jiangnan water culture, characterized by a city interwoven with waterways. It creates a picturesque setting where “the city stands amidst water, water flows through the city, and people stroll through a painting.” Water is integral to Shaoxing’s culture, with stone arch bridges and black-tarpaulin boats representing its essence. In the toll station’s design, these elements are abstractly incorporated: the black roof symbolizes boat tarps, and the arched structure represents waterway bridges, evoking a sense of belonging and cele،ting regional culture.
The entire steel structure was ،embled using prefabricated welding techniques. Due to the gradual curvilinear design, each column had varying angles and dimensions. Parametric design control was employed to optimize the overall design, ensuring a balance between aesthetics and cost-effectiveness. Skylights made of gl، were added to the central portion of the roofs on both sides, creating dynamic variations of light and shadow within the ،e. Due to the complexity and public nature of the toll station project, each meeting involves consultations with various parties, including the Public Security Department, Hangz،u-Ningbo Expressway, muni،l aut،rities, investors, fire department, maintenance team, local officials, and experts. These parties’ requirements and suggestions must be carefully considered and integrated into the design. Architects must make decisions, find a balance, and coordinate with various disciplines to make adjustments and provide prompt responses. This presents a significant challenge.
OpenUnion carried out the structural design of the project. Jinggong Steel Building Group undertook the construction of steel structures, and Tongchuang Engineering managed the general contracting of EPC. Our studio was responsible for the project’s initial design and concept phases. Even after the project entered the EPC phase, we continued to be deeply involved to ensure the project was realized according to the design intent. Nevertheless, in practical use over the past year, the toll station has successfully achieved the objectives we initially set out to accomplish and has become a distinctive urban gateway for Shaoxing， a welcoming gesture to Asia games.