XI'AN, CHINA, 2014
Given the breath-taking rates of growth in China, we have often been confronted by the need to design an “urban” condition on sites where no city yet exists. This large project sits in a special zone near the airport of Xi’an, not far from our soon-to-be-completed “UFO” building. At the moment, however, there is almost nothing to which to respond, save relatively vague plans for the future, a major highway, and a sprinkling of other infrastructure. Our task, then, was to design a project that was at once suf ciently mixed in use to function as a “complete” environment and con gured in a way that would allow it to become an integral part of the unknown city that will grow around it.
The program is thoroughly mixed and includes extensive residential, of ce, retail, recreational, and other uses, vital to the constitution of a genuine neighborhood. All of these are within an easy walk and – due to the nearby airport – the scale of all building is consistently low and uniform in height. Our main organizational move has been to center the project on a “Central Park” to provide a space of quiet leisure and sanctuary, a formal identity for the complex, and an attractor and asset for residents who will eventually come to live nearby. We expect the park to add substantial value to the development and to establish a precedent of urbanity for projects to come.
Credits: J. Gu, Z. Li, Y. Liu, M. Okazaki, M. Sorkin, Y. Sun.