China Hills by MVRDV


A conceptual model for a future city by Dutch architects MVRDV, featuring terraced buildings that look like mountains, is on show at the Beijing Center for the Arts.

Called China Hills, the project aims to combine the city with agriculture and energy production.

The installation remains in place until 28 February.

Photographs copyright Beijing Center for the Arts.

The following information is from MVRDV:


MVRDV exhibits “China Hills:
A vision of future cities”

Saturday 28th of November the Beijing Centre for the Arts will open the exhibition “Green Projects II, Three Dimensional City: Future China” featuring work of Paolo Soleri and MVRDV.

The centre piece is an installation by MVRDV, “China Hills”: a scale model of a future Chinese city which offers alternatives to the current urbanization in China.

On a hypothetical site of 1x1x0.5 km the plan offers space to accommodate up to 100,000 inhabitants and a well balanced mix of urban program and nature, agriculture and energy production; all in the shape of a Chinese mountain landscape: realizable with today’s technologies. The exhibition is open until February 28th 2010. On 28th November a Forum takes place.

Exhibition installation “China Hills: A Dream for Future Cities”

2008 marks the historic global move from a majority of rural population to a majority of urban population. In the last twenty years, the incredible economic growth of China has lead to enormous urbanizations. Though impressive in size, most of these urban developments are rather monotonous and relying on external resources.

As the urban population grows, the needed program will require more space than suitable land is available. In the exhibition MVRDV visualizes the possibilities this offers. The city on a site of 1x1x0.5 km is terraced to offer sufficient space naturally lit for the needed plantation and energy production. This leads to attractive livable areas in high-rises. ‘Stepped’ terraced towers with a rich variety of characters appear. The interiors of these ‘hills’ are destined for retail, industry, leisure and technology.

By inserting these new ‘hills’ in and around the current cities, a sincere Chinese mountain range appears. Blending individuality with collective responsibilities, connecting architecture with urbanism and turning urbanism into landscape architecture.

Beijing Center for the Arts, together with project developer Beijing Vantone Three Dimensional City Investment Co. Ltd, presents the exhibition “BCA Green Project II” – “Three Dimensional City: Future China”. With collective efforts from world’s leading architects and artists, national and international experts and scholars on urban planning, city ecology and environment, decision makers from government and enterprises, “Three Dimensional City” is poised to envision an ideal living environment and future urban ecology.

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The project addresses the depletion of land and energy resources. As an enlightening project from which future urban planning programs can draw inspiration and as an exhilarating of social reformation.

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Posted on Tuesday January 5th 2010 at 2:42 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • …and the dark interior of this new created ‘sincere Chinese mountain range’ houses an army of sweat shops? c’mon

  • James

    Apparently Jane Jacobs has yet to be translated in Dutch.

  • xavier

    that is a bit unfair… MVRDV have a good record in coming up with ingenuous ways of combining deep floor plates and natural lighting. They also understand quite well the challenges presented by population explosion and no doubt energy demands. please spear a moment and step out of the box and try understanding what this project or proposal is attempting to do.
    despite the critical aspects of such architecture there is also potential to engage designers to come up with sustainable and manageable solutions for large population centres… Blade Runner is of age

  • flytoget

    wow. very clever.

  • andy

    “Apparently Jane Jacobs has yet to be translated in Dutch.”

    I laughed.

  • Macroni

    I have seen it as I happened to be in Beijing. It is a small but impressive exhibition. The idea of MVRDV indicates a possible way for China to deal with problems in future. But I think it should show the limitation and defects of the project as well.

  • xavier

    Marconi…. only by pushing the limits real progress happens. Sure the defects are evident because nothing of this scale and magnitude has ever been built, and never before humanity faced so greater challenges.

  • guisforyou

    via experimentation…progression. its intense! mimicing natural forms for maximum exposure to natural illumination.

  • joe

    make something like this somewhere in holland! would`ve been greatly apreciated :)

  • I like MVRDVs concepts, eventhough they are most of the time very populistic. However what annoys very much is that the mountains copy the graphical language of Erick van Egeraats Kazachstan library project !!! But if you call it the triumph of the genius’ design over the automated design strategy of MVRDV, well then let’s accept it …

  • ray

    i don’t see any specific reponses of this proposal to the contemporary Chinese city except some superficialits of “Chinese mountain landscape” and “economic growth of china’. Nowadays people always quote ‘China’ when they wanna do something expermential.

  • guest

    There are several cities that are already built in China with highways, apartments, everything, but nobody lives in them. What are they saving them for when they say there is no space there? I don’t believe it, they have such a huge country. They just want to concentrate all the workers on top of each other.