Beijing...but bigger

Tuesday 31 Aug 2010

SOM's designs for expanded CBD in the Chinese capital

As the winner of an international, invitation-only design competition to double the size of the existing Beijing Central Business District (CBD), this master plan accommodates 7 million sq m of gross building area in a 3 sq km redevelopment zone. The expanded district remains consistent with the existing CBD functions, containing Class-A office space, quality housing, hotels, retail and entertainment. Special attention is given to integrating existing residential and commercial buildings into the expanded vision, while new cultural facilities add to the vibrancy and civic nature of the district.

The project enhances Beijing's commitment to public open space by offering three new public parks, green boulevards and a revitalised riverfront park. The comprehensive green network is designed to harvest and cleanse storm water to help alleviate shortages in the water-starved city. Additionally, the master plan aims to reduce vehicular traffic congestion by providing new modes of public transportation, including additional subway lines, streetcars and, most ambitiously, express rail service between a new CBD core and Beijing's Capital Airport and South Railway Station.

The design is based on classic urban design principles - walkable streets, consistent street walls and active ground floor uses - and optimised with today's technology to maximise sunlight, views and thermal comfort. Placing this project at the cutting edge of smart technologies and serving as a model for contemporary urban redevelopment, the plan proposes a 'plug and play' strategy for the provision of energy, water, conditioned air, communications and waste management infrastructure. Intelligent systems monitor and adjust to deliver maximum efficiencies, while centralised operations are made visible to the public - a true showcase in sustainable design.

Designed as a flexible framework for development, the plan can be adjusted and phased to respond to the evolving Beijing market. The master plan team has continued working with local officials to refine the plan, with a special emphasis on minimising carbon outputs in the expanded CBD. Construction of the initial phases will begin upon final approval, with full build-out anticipated by 2020.

Key Facts:

Urban design

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