JIUJIANG, CHINA, 2018
Our project for the development of the Shuangliu Jiujiang District is based on a strong desire to create a unique and vibrant sense of place. The scheme we propose addresses an issue that is common not simply to the urbanization of Chengdu but to the great majority of the cities of China: an overly generic pattern of building based on superblocks, isolated towers, and single uses. The aim of what we present is to make a district that feels like a city, full of life and scaled to encourage local and neighborhood identity.
Our inspiration comes from many great cities we know but, most relevantly, includes both the lively heart of Chengdu as well as the dense center of Shuangliu, with its well-defined streets and bustling commerce. Indeed, our visits to the Jiujiang site itself were particularly inspirational and we were especially struck by the activity and interchange of the traditional market at its center and the richness of interaction, opportunity, and life it offers. While we surely understand the importance of the scale and modernity of shopping malls and apartment towers we believe that good cities are places which mix sizes, architectural types, and uses to support a variety of experiences for both residents and visitors.
This plan, therefore, does not propose a “clean slate” approach but seeks to reinforce existing assets while providing a rich mix of opportunities for future development. Thus, we would maintain and renovate several existing villages on the site, retain some agricultural activity, support and enhance waterways as both amenities and as “sponges”, and create a great “green grid” to knit the site together and to link it to the magnificent greenways that are provided by the district’s upper level planning. The organizational basis for our design is, above all, the street and our proposal respects an historic urban tradition of “street walls” that create the primary network of spaces of public interaction. More, the pattern of these streets would itself be variegated, rich, and human-scaled with special emphasis on the convenience of people on foot. One of the singular features of the plan is an east-west vein of village-scaled pedestrian development that would reinforce and extend the site’s historic character and provide an accessible concentration of restaurants and small shops for all residents of the district, a true crossroads.
Credits: J. Gu, Y. Liu, Z. Quan, M. Sorkin, A.Waxman, BIAD, Level Infrastructure