Urbanus design the new marriage registration centre in Shenzen

The features of a government office enhanced for a very special day

by Malcolm Clark
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The Nanshan Marriage Registration Center designed by Urbanus architects is a new type of architectural work in China, where the image of a marriage registration office is commonly associated to complicated bureaucratic processes which turns what is supposed to be a romantic occasion into a mechanical procedure.

Urbanus architects, therefore, deliberately set out to give a new identity to the procedure of registration by creating an architecture with two purposes: firstly to give marriage registration a new identity and secondly to provide public spaces which could be used by the rest of the city of Shenzhen. It attempts to achieve this by redefining the monumentality of government buildings and by giving the institutional offices a new image thus 'shortening the distance' between citizens and government authorities.

The building is located in the north eastern corner of Lijing Park in Shenzhen and occupies an area 100 metres long and 25 metres wide. A small pavilion is connected to the main volume by means of two bridges which seem to float on a reflecting pool: this makes reference not only to the ceremonial nature of marriage but also indicates the significance of the building as an urban landmark.

Inside a continuous spiral path reflects the various phases of the marriage process, from arrival to approaching the wedding hall with the relatives, waiting, registration, issuing the certificate, descending the slope, passing the pool and rejoining the relatives in the pavilion.

The external cladding of the building has two layers made up of a floral aluminium mesh which reveals the interior and a second weatherproof structural glass layer.

    Nanshan Marriage Registration Center 42

    Nanshan Marriage Registration Center

    Shenzhen / China / 2011