disorder – not randonmness but beyond order:
BAU182 Chengdu East Village

Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China

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Discipline

Planning

Typology

Urban planning

City

Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China

Date

2005

Status

First prize, invited competition (under construction since 2006)

Client

Chengdu East Investment Company

Program

New urban district for 110,000 population

This project lies within one of Chengdu’s six urban growth corridors and contains one of the metropolis’s ten new city centres. The site is in the eastern part of the city and stretches between the second and outer ring roads where it touches Chengdu’s 1km wide eco ring park. To the south the site borders a green farming finger/wedge whose strategic significance remains undecided.

Within the metropolis’s five other growth corridors the city is applying the standard Chinese planning orthodoxy of enormous-scaled mono-functional land-use zoning. At the metropolitan scale the planning may appear reasonable; however at the neighborhood level this approach is creating environments which are socially, economically and environmentally unsustainable. In the midst of this development the city has selected our proposal for an urbanity of finer-scale zoning organized into a structure of continuous networks for this eastern growth corridor. Construction of roads and infrastructure has commenced on the site and negotiations for land sales have commenced.

The competition brief, matching the metropolitan plan, called for the design of 12 km2 kilometers of high-density dormitory suburbs with a central business district. Our proposal stretches the CBD into a continuous commercial network across the entire site. This results in a city with the potential to support a plethora of urban life, all within walking distance of residents. Combed with the ubiquitous enclaving of Chinese housing, the city becomes a mix of quiet enclaves and dynamic networks. Highly sought-after quiet, green, clean and safe private living environments coexist with active, complex and unpredictable public urban environments.

Urbanisation in China is still accompanied by terra nullius and tabula rasa attitudes. However, already emerging on the site, in the villages to the southeast, is a local tourism industry featuring teahouses, restaurants, flower markets and small inns. By designing a park network which engulfs the existing villages with the tree-lined lanes connecting them, dams, and stands of mature trees, it would be possible to maintain and develop this cultural and economic phenomenon within the new metropolis. The new city would be enriched with diversity while the social and environmental upheavals of this urbanisation could be lessened.

Working with Melbourne landscape architects, Sinatra Murphy, the major east-west park network was developed into three continuous programmatic bands: an ecological band; a linear plaza band with 3km long Wisteria pergola; and a band of sports and recreation. The ecological band links the ecological parkland, on the east, with the rail corridor parkland to the west. Unfortunately, as is common in China – the landscape contract was cancelled without discussion and, in this case, given to a large multinational company. Since then the contract of the multinational has been cancelled and the job given to a local design operator.

Following the government’s desire to accentuate the unusually hilly character of the site, the proposed street network runs counter to the topography. Two street grids are superimposed: a grid of large straight streets, and a grid of curvaceous smaller streets which run against the contours and weave three-dimensionally. Bicycle routes throughout the site remain flat along the existing tree-lined lanes in the park network.

A commercial network is situated on every second street, producing a network of quiet streets and one of active streets. This commercial network is suitable to accommodate programs of retail, offices, and alternative housing typologies.

At the intersections or overlaps of two commercial network bands the zone is widened to accommodate larger programs throughout the site. Here it becomes a small pure zone which excludes residential use but allows the emergence of places of potential disturbance such as music venues and light manufacturing. Increasing the FAR and widening the commercial network in the metro station vicinity enables a maximum level of activities in the place of the highest accessibility.

The commercial network is hybridised with green wherever it overlaps the park network and vice-versa. The parks gain a range of potential commercial programs and at the same time the commercial environments gain and are benefited by a range of park programs and characteristics. The overlap allows for the continuity of both networks, the green and the commercial, to be maintained. Throughout the site wherever the green network overlaps itself, plazas and active areas of sports are planned.

The government-requested north-south axis is manifested in three bands: a 2.5 km long row of landmark towers whose podiums house the district’s biggest entertainment and retail programs; a linear labyrinth of buildings housing the city’s smallest programs; and a linear parkland suitable for festivals and events. Stretching the length of the site, a linear grid of married/grafted trees creates a continuous living structure and promenade. The axis passes through the metro district and continues into the next stage of city development, linking both sites.

Chengdu has demolished all but two lanes of its small-scale urbanity for which it was famous. The 2.5 km long building labyrinth is a strategy to reintroduce formal and programmatic complexity and to reintroduce areas of intimate scale to Chengdu. The labyrinth is part of the commercial network and will likely house a growing segment of the city’s population who reject or cannot afford the housing enclave option.

After winning the competition, BAU were engaged for a further six weeks to hastily develop their design – more than is usually afforded the urban designers. The project was then adopted by a local design institute that immediately documented the work for state approval. The opportunity for BAU to mature the design, or even to take an ongoing advisory role in the evolution of the district, has regrettably not been forthcoming.

2015

Education

Hospitality

Mixed Use

Nanjing

Residential

Sports

2011

Jiangyin

Office

Retail

2005-2010

Shanghai

2000-2005

Melbourne

Public

Urban Design

Kyneton

Culture

Healthcare

Playgrounds

Public Landscapes

Urban Landscapes

Hotel

Suzhou

2014

Hangzhou

Structures & Pavillions

Wuxi

Planning

2013

2012

Fuding

Shaoxing

Chongqing

Kunshan

Office

Wuhan

Hotel

Healthcare

Cixi

Ningbo

Meishan

Canberra

Jingzhou

Private Landscapes

Chengdu

Hospitality

Culture

1990-2000

Xiamen

Residential

Hopetoun

Caofeidian

Huai’an

Xi'an

Xinyu

Mixed Use

Retail

Sports

formal teaching and informal learning:
BAU540 Gaochun New District Kindergaten to Year Nine School

an exercise in robustness:
BAU333 Jiangyin Huifu Office Tower

effortless complexity: learning from water-town:
BAU222-2 Shanghai Qingpu Zhujiajiao Commercial

no longer but not only:
BAU213-3 Jindi Yunhu Market

actualizing the virtual:
BAU 213-2 Jindi Yunhu Sports and Activity Center

geometry, history, art, craft, iconography, and pragmatics: an exploration of intention, coding, narrative, and meaning
BAU021 Olinda Green + Public WC

there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in:
BAU015 Jan Juc House, Victoria, Australia

BAU009 house in the sky

surreal adjacencies:
BAU019 Marymount Residence, Guest Accommodation, Stable + Office

mini-city of culture:
BAU590 Nanjing Pukou Haiqiao Community Service Center

keeping a low profile:
BAU 214 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase I

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU 213-1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

dis-integrated guest houses :
BAU495 Pine Pillow Retreat

don’t look at me, don’t look at me:
BAU436 Nanjing Jiangning Demonstration Kindergarten

new buildings, old topography:
BAU424 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase 2

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310-1 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

defining the perimeter, programming the centre, inhabiting them both:
BAU238 Town Plaza, Xinqiao, Jiangyin

turning outside-in:
BAU199-2 Wuxi Fudi Forte Parktown Sales Pavilion

beyond PODS, networks, and nodes:
BAU552 Chengbei Urban Design project, Nanjing

podium and bill(ding)board:
BAU547 Nanjing Yaxi Town Central Hospital

inner sanctuary, outer crust:
BAU546 Nanjing Gaochun Qiqiao Hospital

an excessive minimalism:
BAU478-A U-Park Incubator, Shang Qing Huai, Nanjing

a plane of reference:
BAU474 Nanjing Zijin Gaochun Science and Technology City

rips in the fabric by place:
BAU461 Nanjing Tangshan Tourist Resort South District

other ideas of hospital:
BAU446 Fuding Hospital

architecture AND terrain:
BAU445 Suzhou Hi-tech District Cultural Center

crust: in-between and on the edge
BAU426 Shaoxing Jianhu Keyan Tourist Resort Planning

eco urbanism:
BAU425 Chongqing Eco Valley City

microcosm:
BAU348 Kunshan Hyper Complex

beyond the picturesque:
BAU347 Kunshan White Pagoda Park

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

building a community not just housing:
BAU302 Shanghai Ludi Baoshan

upside down program – ‘private’ circulation becoming ‘public’ circulation:
BAU254 Shanghai Wai Gao Qiao Culture Centre

extra-large private space as public space:
BAU199 Parktown, Housing, Fudi Forte, Wuxi

mini-me:
BAU197 Jindi Sanlin Pavilion

staggering:
BAU191 Wuhan Cuiwei Housing

urban camouflage:
BAU227 Hangzhou Sports Centre

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU213_1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:
BAU543 Emerald Village at Soul Bay

critical regionalism and abstraction:
BAU487 Nanjing Yaxi Citta-Slow

hospital for the ill, health care for the healthy, aged care for the elderly: BAU469 Zhaoxiang Hospital

communities as schools and schools as communities:
BAU408 Networks School Zhangjiang

tear open the package: BAU247 Qingpu NGS Supermarket

urban sponge:
BAU324 Cixi Commercial and Culture Center

lyrical islands in pragmatic seas:
BAU530_1 Nanjing Gaochun Su-Wan Interchange Hub

fractured enormity:
BAU281 Chongqing Huarun

ring roads AND peripheral parks:
BAU243 Shanghai Ring Park

simple box OR 3 points in space – you choose:
BAU204-2 Ningbo Wanda Office

many utopias:
BAU129 Xinhu Pearl City Housing Development

a close family:
BAU125 Zhejiang Power Company HQ

stretching, squeezing, bending, trimming:
BAU550 Huanglong Xigu Urban Design

BOTH networks AND objects:
BAU497 Wyndham Cove Eco Sub-urb

ethics, democracy, difference:
BAU470 towards a socially sustainable Canberra

warp and woof:
BAU460 Jingzhou Museum

sustainable technologies for clean living:
BAU396 Nanjing Residential

network of learning:
BAU341 Yushanwan School

not in galleries, but a way of seeing:
BAU338 Jingqiao Ramp Restaurant

shopping sandwich:
BAU321 Jiangyin Wuxing Commercial Centre

celebrating the collective, the intimate, the sustainable, and the local:
BAU312 Suzhou School

21st century Ponte Vecchio:
BAU287 Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bridge

antidote: not another ghetto city:
BAU285 Chengdu North Central

at last …finally …some diversity:
BAU282 Jindi Sanlin Office

recycling and beyond
BAU264 Jiashan Lu Apartment Block

an assemblage of difference:
BAU256 Shanghai Hongqiao Performing Arts Center

streets as shelters, bars as amphitheaters, landscapes as playgrounds:
BAU235 Jinqiao Community Bars

reduce, reuse, recycle:
BAU220 Shanghai Sculpture Space

binary oppositions defining a field of operation – all we wanted was a park:
BAU122 Xiamen International Exhibition Centre

the hotel as microcosm of the city:
BAU018 Marque Hotel

…very strange:
BAU016 Penny Lane

the beautiful and the extraordinary:
BAU013 Hopetoun Bush Resort

a dynamic yet stable vehicle:
BAU510 Suzhou Tram Co. Headquarters

palimpsest:
BAU486A Jiangyin Docklands Park

innovation both inside and out:
BAU433 Zhangjing Nobel Lake Park & Network

exquisite corpse
BAU416 Genetic City Caofeidian

landscape becomes urban design becomes architecture:
BAU390 Duolan Dong Dong Mixed Use Complex

BAU386 Symbiotic City

repetition and difference:
BAU384 Kunshan Pavilions

no longer drowning – waving:
BAU339-2&3 Suzhou Creek Promenade

yet another point of view:
BAU339-1 Suzhou Creek Serpentine Park

ordinary not heroic, symbolic not monumental:
BAU318 Hangzhou Xiaoshan Government Headquarters

woven threads:
BAU234 Jiangyin Arbour Park

private precincts, public networks:
BAU226 Pudong Yangjing

creative networks:
BAU224 Chengdu Fenghuangshan

maximize commuication and cross fertilization:
BAU208 Linping New City Centre

more than just a technopolis:
BAU206 Hangzhou Xiasha New City Centre

a second network embracing history, smalllness, and complexity:
BAU193 Chengdu West New District

a park for everyone and everyone in their park:
BAU189 Hongqiao Park

disorder – not randonmness but beyond order:
BAU182 Chengdu East Village

mosaics of teaching, networks of learning:
BAU149 Huai’an Tertiary Education District

walled cities within a walled city:
BAU147 Xi’an High-Tech Precinct CBD

co-existence without incompatibility:
BAU138 Jiangxi Xinyu Networks City

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

space-time conflict:
BAU544 Shanghai University Campus

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