News: Danish architecture studio ADEPT has won a competition to masterplan a 17 square-kilometre district in the Chinese city of Hengyang with designs that involve a sequence of looping zones.
The Green Loops City encompasses a site straddling the Xiangjiang river in the Laiyan New Town and Binjian districts of the city, which is part of Hunan Province. ADEPT plans to divide the site into a number of blob-like zones with themes such as sport or culture, intended to match up with the features of each area.
Historical buildings such as pagodas and a library will be retained and celebrated, while existing farmlands, rivers and wetlands are to be integrated into the urban fabric rather than eradicated.
"Much of Hengyang's cultural and natural resources are still very much intact when compared to other Chinese cities facing rapid urban development," said ADEPT partner Aidi Su. "This is an incredible opportunity for us to make a difference in Chinese cities."
The architects developed a series of principles to ensure a coherent design strategy. These include designing sustainable transportation; creating a denser urban network; maintaining cultural heritage; developing new and existing communities; implementing a denser urban life; preserving and enhancing the natural landscape; creating new ecological system using existing water networks; and connecting to surrounding neighbourhoods.
Combined, the loops will offer a logical network of spaces that are straightforward to navigate by car, bicycle or on foot.
"When walking around and experiencing this area you meet the fantastic inherent values and qualities that already exist here," said architect Martin Lauresen. "I believe that we - by our approach preserving both cultural and historical structures and already built residential communities - can create a new part of Hengyang that bases the future on the history, integrating modern lifestyle with cultural traditions."
Other city masterplans proposed for China include a car-free "satellite city" to be built from scratch near Chengdu and a business centre in the Longgang district of Shenzhen. See more architecture in China »
Here's more text from ADEPT:
ADEPT wins 17km2 planning competition in China with the proposal 'Green Loops City'
The municipality of Hengyang, Hunan Province, China, chose ADEPT as winners of the planning competition of the 17km2 site of Laiyan New Town and Binjian District in Hengyang. The proposal 'Green Loops City' links the new urban areas through attractive and diverse landscape loops. The competition was invited and included large planning offices: Hassel Architects (Australia), Aube Architects (France), Guangzhou Urban Planning Design Institute (China), and Guangzhou South Kecheng (China).
The translated quote from the Hengyang municipality: "The concept 'Green Loops City' is developed by the Danish architectural firm ADEPT and provided the best and most suitable planning proposal for Hengyang by capturing its unique cultural heritage using a sustainable planning method. Jury experts from the most prestigious universities and organisations in China voted in favour of the ADEPT proposal. The mayor of the city stressed the importance of the future for this area, and emphasised the need to create a new city able to offer commercial, culture, tourism and leisure."
Hengyang is a city of many cultural artifacts with pagodas, a library, and an academy making up an impressive list of historical buildings in the Laiyan New Town and Binjian District of Hengyang. Set within the background of these buildings is the beautiful nature of Hengyang with farmlands, mountains, wetlands, and rivers that have been all preserved until now. As Hengyang goes through rapid urban development and requires the need for new sub-cities to expand beyond the old town area, can we consider a sustainable urban development for the city that can preserve its natural and cultural qualities? Is it possible to preserve nature while at the same time expand the city?
Using a sustainable approach to planning cities, we have set up 8 principles to guide the design of the city. Designing sustainable transportation, creating a denser urban network, maintaining cultural heritage, developing new and existing communities, implementing a denser urban life, preserving and enhancing the natural landscape, creating new ecological system using existing water networks, and connecting to surrounding neighbourhoods. The urban principles are about creating a living strategy for development that could create a better future for Hengyang and the inhabitants of the city.
Combining the strategies of the 8 principles into a bigger concept, 'Green Loops City' attempts to link Hengyang's unique characteristics, the landscape, the water, history, and culture, by creating important public spaces that are linked together. The green loops allow visitors to tour the special places in Hengyang while creating a more diverse city for locals to live.
Each individual loop focus on a particular theme relating to the advantages of each area, for example a Culture, a Sports and a Sub-Cbd loop. The Culture loop attempts to connect the most important cultural buildings, pagoda, library, along with new bar street, restaurant street, to make a better connection, and bring more activity to the area. The Sports loop takes advantage of the natural river conditions in the area to create more enjoyable natural area to do sports, while also forming an important axis with the pagoda building. The Sub-Cbd loop creates a new way of working in the city, combining water canals, restaurants, shopping all in a convenient location with the new BRT route.
While each of the loops work individually, together the loops can form a larger green network – 'Green Loops City' - that can connect all the different parts of the city allowing visitors and locals to use. Connected together, pedestrians, and bicyclist can easily traverse through the city to visit each area.