A very different Central Park

16 Feb 2010

SOM innovates with sustainable city solution

The Chicago and China offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) have designed an urban model which introduces a sustainable 'engine' in the form of an energy producing Central Park. Showcasing integrated solutions for energy, water conservation and transit systems in Beijing’s Dawangjing District, the SOM plan, which won an international competition to guide Wangjing’s redevelopment, would use the park to passively heat and cool the district.

Strategically positioned just over 11 kilometers from the Beijing Capital International Airport, the proposed district of public parks, cultural venues, and landmark high-rises would be a new global gateway for the City. The plan proposes to passively heat and cool many district buildings, reducing the need for water-consuming cooling towers. The park would anchor the surrounding high-density, mixed-use development, including a cluster of landmark office and residential towers.

Peter Ruggiero, AIA, SOM Design Partner said: “We saw this project as a demonstration. It offered us the opportunity to present new ways of thinking about reduced carbon footprints in cities. Our solution is an integrated comprehensive approach to urban design, architecture and the environment.”

The Wangjing District is currently composed of high-density residential projects with little commercial support. The new plan is designed to support up to 1,500,000 sq m of potential future development built in phases to provide a vibrant, mixed-use hub. It sets a goal for 80 percent of resident and worker journeys to be made by public transit, bicycle, or walking. Transit stations are proposed on the M15 subway line to enable quick and convenient access to the airport, while a comprehensive network of bicycle lanes would reduce automobile traffic and congestion. Additionally, a streetcar network is proposed to eventually link all districts together.

Beijing Chaoyang District Planning Bureau is the client and the team collaboration was led by Beijing R&F Properties Development Co. Ltd.

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