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

Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, China





Urban planning and design


Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, China




Competition winner. Control planning stage.


Gaochun Planning Bureau


New urban district for 110,000p

beyond PODS, networks, and nodes

Gaochun Town is 40km from Nanjing, situated between two significant lakes. With the past two decades of exponential growth in Nanjing, and with the construction of freeway and rail connections to Gaochun, the town is under pressure to expand and develop. Industrial and service industries are moving to Gaochun Town, and tourism is thriving in the beautiful Gaochun county. The current town population of 120,000 is forecast to increase to 290,000 by 2030.

In 2014 BAU were invited to plan ten square kilometers of new city to the north of the existing town. To the east of the site is the new light industry zone, to the west is farmland, and to the north is planned further urbanisation.

not an empty canvas
Starting from a detailed analysis of the existing conditions, this urban design proposal includes existing rivers, creeks, canals, and villages. These found objects are linked together in a preservation network and encouraged to disturb the more generic networks city.

PODs, networks, and nodes.
Chengbei is BAU’s twenty third network city proposal, a network city which provides Pedestrian Oriented Districts (POD’s) as the building blocks of a city designed for people. The PODs are based on a five-minute walk to public transport and therefore cover an area of approximately 800m x 800m.

Through traffic and residential development exists on the perimeter of this POD, while local public transport and retail and commercial activity are focused in the centre of the POD. This simple system runs in both the north-south and the east-west directions within the POD and their intersection generates a rich, flexible, complex, yet predictable zoning proposition.

ideas larger than PODs, networks and nodes
1.) Water Woven City (WWC)
The site contains a substantial amount of existing waterways. Rather than push these waterways into underground infrastructure, BAU sees them as a major network of significant public open space to be woven into the fabric of the city. They provide urban spaces of high-quality public recreational amenity, vital ecological networks, increase land values and, when associated with retail and commercial activity, are very good for business.

2.) Old Southbank Town (OST)
The existing villages of these areas have a spatial texture and grain size that is unique and not offered in new city programs today. Maintaining and re-cycling these unique places not only provides historical continuity in the new city, it also provides special places and spaces that attract programs and activities that are often neglected by contemporary city pragmatics.

3.) Creative Southbank Sponge (CSS)
Learning from Old Southbank Town, BAU has suggested a new urban fabric which runs along the Lu Xi river between the Old River Town Xue Cheng and the Xi Gu river to the east. This new fabric is small grain, low-rise, high density (just like OST), but it is also more regular and rational in its arrangement (just like the networks city).

4.) Northbank Community Park (NCP)
Located on the north bank of the Luxi River (and therefore catching all the southern sun) this high amenity major public space contains the city’s primary economic, social, and cultural institutions. Seen as a series of sculptural objects sitting in a contemporary landscape, this sunny riverside public open space provides a contrasting spatial texture to the rest of the networks city. Maintaining much of the existing pattern of aquaculture ponds on the site results in a unique water landscape for the new districts.

5.) a cluster of Communities
By responding to specifics of their contexts, each of the PODs will be developed in ways to differentiate themselves from the other PODs. This will generate a cluster of communities each with a specific sense of place. The PODs easily break into smaller community structures such as neighbourhoods (400m x 400m), and mosaics of sub-culture (200m x 200m), which should also explore their individuality to further assist in making spaces and places of difference.

6.) Great Western Promenade (GWP) and Great Eastern Promenade (GEP)
Two major commercial promenades run north-south, each linking three PODs and crossing the Luxi River. While both promenades provide a diversity of retail and commercial programs, The Great Western Promenade has an emphasis on social and festive services while the Great Eastern Promenade has an emphasis on commercial and retail market places.

7.) Little River Town (LRT)
North of the Luxi River and running east-west along the existing small canal is another important high amenity commercial and retail water focused space. Running from the Great Western Promenade, through to the Great Eastern Promenade, and touching the POD containing the university and high cultural programs, Little River Town changes it‘s retail and commercial emphasis from social and festive services, through retail and commercial programs, to cultural programs linked to the university.

8.) Medium River Town (MRT)
South of Luxi River, growing west from the Central Business District attached to the new Dafeng Lake is Medium River Town, a water based commercial and retail shopping experience. Like the water based trading centres that existed prior to the domination of our trading and circulation systems by roads, Medium South Bank is spatially integrated with the water much like a trading port.

9.) Six Bridges
Like Chicago, this city will be a city of bridges. There are six bridges crossing the major waterway, the Luxi River, and many others in this water woven city.

Two of these major bridges are habitable. Growing out of the social programmatic band of the city, the Western Festival Bridge is focused on providing the community with festival, exhibition, exposition, and gallery spaces – a bridge focused on social gatherings with a teaching-learning emphasis. Growing out of the economic programmatic band of the city, the Eastern Market Bridge provides a well serviced, infrastructure that is focused on flexible, temporary and ever-changing demand driven market activities.

There are also four bridges providing connection for through traffic and public transport. These bridges ensure our communities are connected to the rest of the city despite the potential major barrier of the Luxi River.

Private Landscapes






Public Landscapes



Structures & Pavillions











Urban Design








Mixed Use









































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

more Piazza Navona than Levittown
BAU618 Tianyou Experimental Primary School and Kindergarten, Suzhou

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

landscape, urbanity, networks, the suitcase, and the paper-bag:
BAU592 Qingpu Zhaoxiang Sports Park, Supermarket + Hotel

more than a frozen moment:
BAU659 ZOOM OASIS, Linkong Perimeter Super Block

look! up in the sky!
BAU210 Shanghai Hongxuan Office Building

Made in China, no question – Invented in China, of course:
BAU588 You-Du R+D Development, Jinqiao, Shanghai

a hybrid infrastructure:
BAU679 Yuandang Bridge

large plains, small grains, and the in-between:
BAU686 Longgang Arts Centre, Shenzhen

on reflection:
BAU674 Qingpu Performing Arts Centre

Place, typologies, programs, and public life:

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

space-time conflict:
BAU544 Shanghai University Campus

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

Journeys AND destination, not just destinations:
BAU569 Nanjing Youfu West Street Primary School

continuous loops and internal courts:
BAU603 Suzhou kindergarten no. 3

weaving and stitching:
BAU616 Jiangyin Greenway Loop (stage 1. Eastern Segment)

a constructed and cultured topography:
BAU269 Jindi Green Land Club

it takes a village to educate a child:
BAU602 Suzhou Sci-tech City Xizhu Kindergarten

city typologies, cultural traditions, contemporary theories, and spaceships:
BAU600 Shanghai Qingpu Newtown 30-class Primary School

artificial plateau:building more site:
BAU599 Shanghai Qingpu Newtown 24-Class Junior High school

it is the least we could do: minimalism in an environment of expressionism
BAU584 Hangzhou Tonglu Office Building

more Piazza Navona than Levittown
BAU618 Tianyou Experimental Primary School and Kindergarten, Suzhou

classrooms AND the in-between: teaching and learning beyond the classroom
BAU610 Taizhou School

other institutions for this new century:
BAU604 Qingpu District People’s Court

building the unfinished:
BAU003M The Victorian Pride Centre

minimal AND maximal:
BAU583 Exhibition Pavilion Gaochun, Nanjing

small in scale large in monumentality:
BAU027 Wyndham Mausoleum

multiple rooms of difference:
BAU253 Shanghai Qingpu Renheng Yunjie Entrance Garden

active cultural edges, passive natural centres:
BAU402 Shanghai Qingpu Qin Yuan Lake Park

intimate, cool, sheltered and lively:
BAU268 Xinqiao Commercial Street + Shop Housing

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:
BAU213-1 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

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

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

BAU197 Jindi Sanlin Pavilion

BAU191 Wuhan Cuiwei Housing

urban camouflage:
BAU227 Hangzhou Sports Centre

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

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 Transport Interchange – Stage One

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 Shanghai Jiashan Market

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

BAU486A Docklands Park, Yangtze River, Jiangyin

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