defining the perimeter, programming the centre, inhabiting them both
an emerging urbanism
Xinqiao is a small town situated 180km north of Shanghai. It has experienced rapid economic growth due to the success of two local enterprises, a plant nursery and a clothing manufacturer. With ample tax revenues the government has set out to transform the town from an ad hoc accumulation of villages to an urbanized centre with high quality recreational, commercial, and living environments.
factory workers promenade
BAU were invited to re-design this project three weeks prior to its construction. Our site investigation, questionnaires and informal interviews revealed that the majority of the town’s people work 12hrs a day, six days a week. Their most popular pastime is promenading around the town after work.
BAU’s plaza design includes a continuous free form roof following the two street edges not yet defined. A proposed bike storage shed forms a topography that is used for spectators to watch sports. This topography completes a clear definition of the perimeter of the site.
The roof links the community centre with the shopping centre and provides shelter for promenading in all weather, especially during the summer wet season. Two glass pavilions are situated beneath the roof. One is the town’s urban planning exhibition hall, the other a tea house and shop to be built later. The exhibition hall is sunken to allow clear views of the planning models and activities and thereby encourage participation.
programs for all
The existing design proposed little more than a barren plaza with isolated basketball courts. To this we added a children’s playground with elderly exercise equipment, amphitheater seating to the basketball courts, sculptural seating and play objects, a field of columns for attaching market tarpaulins, and the free form roof with pavilions.