Architects from the North East are in the running to design a landmark £200m entertainment, residential and commercial centre in Mongolia.
Gradon Architecture, headquartered in Gateshead, is one of three firms – and the only UK practice – selected to submit plans for the vast regeneration project that will transform a disused site in the country’s capital Ulan Bator.
The firm made history earlier this year by becoming the first British practice to set up in Mongolia, opening a studio in Ulan Bator and taking on three new Mongolian staff as part of the expansion.
The move came a few months after Tanja Smith, chartered architectural technologist and associate at Gradon Architecture, moved to the capital to cement the firm’s work in Mongolia.
The architect firm’s plans for the prestigious development, known as the Four Seasons, include residential apartments, public spaces, a hotel, shopping mall, leisure centre, skating rink and waterpark as well as a conference centre, office space and medical hub.
And with Mongolia’s standing as one of the world’s most polluted countries, sustainable solutions are at the core of Gradon’s designs, with the proposals featuring ‘bioclimatic’ design, which incorporates existing natural vegetation into the building’s exterior to create vertical gardens.
The gardens are devised to create a habitat for wildlife as well as to offer protection to the building from Mongolia’s harsh and varied climate.
Graham McDarby, design director at Gradon Architecture, said: “It is an exciting time to be designing architecture in Mongolia, with cities such as Ulan Bator undergoing rapid transformation.
“Gradon Architecture is at the forefront of this positive change – helping to improve standards and implement green solutions that will make a huge impact.
“We’re delighted to be down to the last three architects in the running for such a prestigious and iconic development.
“With bases in the UK and Mongolia we are in the unique positioning of being able to bring both local knowledge and the expertise of UK design and sustainability solutions to the project.
“The Four Seasons development will be a vibrant space that has the potential to be the jewel in the crown of Ulan Bator, redefining the future growth and sustainability of the city.”
Gradon’s Mongolia venture is the first overseas office for the fast-growing practice, which increased its international business from zero to 25% of the company’s total turnover in the last two years. Expansion into Northern Ireland is planned for later this year.
The Four Seasons is the latest of a number of design projects in the country for Gradon, including energy efficient homes and commercial projects.
In April the practice was appointed to work on the Tugulduur Shopping Centre, a £20m retail and residential complex in Ulan Bator.