A master plan by Chicago-based architecture firm Goettsch Partners has been selected as the winning scheme in the design competition for a prominent site in the new Pazhou district in Guangzhou, China. Three urban parcels form the triangular site, which is planned for seven buildings totaling 428,000 square meters. Set along the Pearl River Delta, the Pazhou district anchors the city’s expansion to the east. The winning master plan establishes a framework for the three-parcel site as a vibrant and iconic commercial destination that merges the new riverfront with the larger urban fabric.
The client and developer is Poly Real Estate (Group) Co., Ltd., one of China’s leading state-owned real estate companies.
Project Description from the Architects:
A nautilus-like spiral defines the organizing concept for the complex, with its physical center providing a direct visual link to the city’s historic pagoda. The centerpiece of the development is a large public piazza, which helps unify the three urban parcels while clearly segregating pedestrian and vehicular activity. Sustainable design initiatives start with a series of elevated bridges that provide unobstructed breezeways and shade for the ground level. These bridges also house indoor social spaces linking the towers and are topped with habitable garden spaces that minimize the urban heat-island effect.
A landmark tower at the northeast corner of the site anchors the development in the skyline, positioned for maximum visibility and presence. The six other buildings encircle the piazza and are designed with podium-level retail and dining venues that activate the public spaces. Sky bridges between buildings define the perimeter of the piazza and link the complex, while maximizing views to the riverfront and adjacent canal. These elevated structures also form gateways that lend an overall permeability to the complex.
In the piazza, a terraced court rises from the site’s lower-level pedestrian access, passing beneath the development’s main connecting roadway. Lined with retail and restaurants, this court features a series of distinct landscaped amenities and terminates at a jewel-like exhibition facility, intended to be an educational and cultural venue. This entire network of pedestrian pathways also has a direct link to the area’s subway lines, providing convenient and intuitive access to the development.
Identified by a larger plan as parcels 4, 5 and 10, the three urban plots each includes a mix of commercial functions. Parcel 4 totals 210,000 square meters, featuring the landmark office and hotel tower, as well as a separate serviced apartment tower; the two are organized in a semicircular arrangement fronting the main piazza. Parcel 5 comprises 100,000 square meters, with three office towers triangulated on the development’s southernmost portion and configured around a secondary public plaza. Parcel 10 totals 118,000 square meters, including an office tower and a hotel, aligned along the adjacent canal. While each building will have its own unique identity, collectively, the buildings will form an ascending spiral, defining a singular urban gesture for the complex.
The Pazhou project represents GP’s fourth major assignment with Poly Real Estate. Other projects include a 159,000-square-meter mixed-use development in Deyang, including hotel, office, conference, and cultural functions; a 200-meter-tall office building in Shunde; and a two-tower, 150,000-square-meter office complex in Chengdu. As one of the largest real estate developers in China, Poly Real Estate operates 119 subsidiaries across 35 cities nationwide.
China is planning to create the world’s biggest mega city by merging nine cities to create a metropolis twice the size of Wales with a population of 42 million.
City planners in south China have laid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta.
The “Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One” scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.
The new mega-city will cover a large part of China’s manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.
Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion). An express rail line will also connect the hub with nearby Hong Kong.
“The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas,” said Ma Xiangming, the chief planner at the Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute and a senior consultant on the project.
However, he said no name had been chosen for the area. “It will not be like Greater London or Greater Tokyo because there is no one city at the heart of this megalopolis,” he said. “We cannot just name it after one of the existing cities.”
“It will help spread industry and jobs more evenly across the region and public services will also be distributed more fairly,” he added.
Mr Ma said that residents would be able to use universal rail cards and buy annual tickets to allow them to commute around the mega-city.
Twenty-nine rail lines, totalling 3,100 miles, will be added, cutting rail journeys around the urban area to a maximum of one hour between different city centres. According to planners, phone bills could also fall by 85 per cent and hospitals and schools will be improved.
“Residents will be able to choose where to get their services and will use the internet to find out which hospital, for example, is less busy,” said Mr Ma.
Pollution, a key problem in the Pearl River Delta because of its industrialisation, will also be addressed with a united policy, and the price of petrol and electricity could also be unified.
The southern conglomeration is intended to wrestle back a competitive advantage from the growing urban areas around Beijing and Shanghai.
By the end of the decade, China plans to move ever greater numbers into its cities, creating some city zones with 50 million to 100 million people and “small” city clusters of 10 million to 25 million.
In the north, the area around Beijing and Tianjin, two of China’s most important cities, is being ringed with a network of high-speed railways that will create a super-urban area known as the Bohai Economic Rim. Its population could be as high as 260 million.
The process of merging the Bohai region has already begun with the connection of Beijing to Tianjing by a high speed railway that completes the 75 mile journey in less than half an hour, providing an axis around which to create a network of feeder cities.
As the process gathers pace, total investment in urban infrastructure over the next five years is expected to hit £685 billion, according to an estimate by the British Chamber of Commerce, with an additional £300 billion spend on high speed rail and £70 billion on urban transport.
Hat tip to the Telegraph
architecture, Engineering, new buildings
China, Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, mega-city, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan, Zhuhai