A surprisingly low-rise concept for the new National Advertising Industry Park to the south of Beijing's Central Business District has taken first place in an international competition for the scheme. The design - composed by the architecture office of Atkins in Beijing with assistance from Atkins' urban planning and landscape teams - presents a series of more than thirty buildings in a mile-long stretch of brownfield land next to the Tonghui River.
This type of development is rare in a city such as Beijing. As the city's position on the architectural and economic markets has risen, so has the height of its towers; it's CBD now a forest of eye-wateringly tall structures. It comes as a surprise then that this latest urban development boasts only a handful of high-rise buildings; a single tall tower to the east with a large rooftop display screen for advertising and a pair of towering structures to the west as a gateway to the National Advertising Industry Park.
Atkin's approach is explained by the team's Senior Design Director, Peter Ridley, who details: "This was a high profile and hard fought competition and our success was due to a design that was focused on the needs of end users, some of China's most creative companies. We prioritised elements that worked on a human scale, creating a streetscape feel that make areas such as Soho in London so attractive."
Taking priority in the design is a range of shorter buildings, with a central avenue lined with three- to five-storey volumes anchored with retail space opening out onto the streetscape. One of the 'defining features', this main street is part of a pedestrian zone and public square which provide access to public features such as a new museum and conference centre, and offers a social space for the Park's users.
Ridley concludes: "We have to thank our clients, Nonmofang County together with Huahan Investment Group, for backing this project as it will be groundbreaking in the Chinese market. The district will have a unique identity and we hope the lively and inspiring spirit of the design will assist those working and visiting area."