AJ+C design new village in Shanxi Province
One of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China and home of the Terracotta Army, Xi’an is experiencing a period of growth as the capital of Shanxi Province.
Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C) won an international competition held by the Xi’An Planning Department to master-plan a new community on an 1,800 hectare site to the west of the old walled city.
Straddling both sides of the Feng River, the master plan uses the principle of ensuring the river’s ecological sustainability as the project’s design generator.
Rather than managing the flooding river with dams and levy banks, the design aims to acknowledge the natural benefits of the flood zones to create positive amenity for the site and its new occupants.
Wetlands have been designed along the east bank to absorb run-off in flood periods, while the mandatory golf course has been relegated to the unbuildable flood zone to the west. Green fingers of land that merge into the built development from the river are designed to absorb storm-water run-off from the development and filter it before releasing it back into the river (images 02 & 03).
Fingers of river feed through into the residential heart of the development, bringing an organic pattern of water and green space to lighten the formality of the residential blocks.
The Chinese character for Feng, the name of the river, is used to symbolise and illustrate the design concept of smaller fingers of water feeding out horizontally from the mother river.
For centuries, the site was occupied by small villages surrounded by agricultural land. The master plan proposes to retain the memory of village life by converting the village street patterns with their domestic scale buildings for use as an arts and culture focus throughout the development (image 04).