Solar Powered Tree Canopies Reimagines a Traditional Chinese Marketplace in Shanghai

Solar Trees Marketplace is a contemporary take on a traditional Chinese marketplace planned for Shanghai’s Minhang district. Designed by Koichi Takada Architects, the development will include 32 artificial trees that provide a shady canopy for market activities. This biophilic project will celebrate local culture while attempting to provide a shared community space. It also prepares for a more sustainable way of city living by using design elements like solar energy and passive cooling.

“We want to humanize buildings in the district, to be more engaging to the public and contribute to the regeneration of communities and their neighborhoods,” explains Koichi Takada. “We want architecture to celebrate cultural identity, along with encouraging pedestrian activities and a more walkable and livable city.”

To combine the green and the community-oriented goals of the project, Koichi Takada Architects took inspiration from Shanghai’s forests and its tree cover. The architects' version of trees provides 3,450 square meters (about 37,135 square feet) of covered walkways. This offers shade while still allowing some light and air to penetrate and cool the covered spaces.

Aside from providing a comfortable place for shoppers, Solar Trees Marketplace also furnishes energy for itself with solar panels at the top of the canopy. Plenty of new plant life is planned for the area immediately surrounding the marketplace that includes camphor trees and indigenous plants.

Solar Trees Marketplace will act as the gateway for the 155,000 square meter development in the Shanghai Tian An Caobao Road Area Residential Masterplan and has already begun construction. The marketplace should be open to the community by early 2022.

Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects reimagines a traditional Chinese marketplace with tree-shaped canopies.

Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects

Photo: SAN

Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects

Photo: SAN

Solar Trees Marketplace by Koichi Takada Architects

Photo: SAN

Koichi Takada Architects: Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn
Doug & Wolf: Website | Instagram
SAN: Website

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Koichi Takada Architects and Doug & Wolf.

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Samantha Pires

Sam Pires is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She is also a freelance architectural designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from NJIT and is currently earning a Master in Architecture II from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sam has design experience at multiple renowned architecture firms such as Gensler and Bjarke Ingels Group. She believes architecture should be more accessible to everyone and uses writing to tell unexpected stories about the built environment. You can connect with her online at
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