Chun Sen Bi An Master Plan, Housing and Mixed use

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Chun Sen Bi An Master Plan, Housing and Mixed use
Chun Sen Bi An Master Plan & Housing: Recent decades have witnessed a heavy migration of population from rural areas in China into the cities. With this migration comes an immediate and critical need for housing"there are now 31 million people in the area surrounding Chongqing, a city at the meeting of the Jialing and Yangtse rivers. The Chongqing City Planning Bureau selected our firm to create a master plan that provides 3,000 units of housing while thinking beyond our site to open and connect the city to the river. During lectures at Chinese universities, with extensive Q&A about how to build on and inhabit the river, we collected feedback from professionals, city planners, and students about what we can offer to the future of China. The resulting Chun Sen Bi An project is one of the largest riverfront urban developments in China, and will be an important catalyst for future river-adjacent development. Site Analysis The waterfront is Chongqing’s greatest asset, yet previous development had blocked access to the river. Our master plan is the city’s first major development to reach down to the river, opening and connecting to the water. The dramatically sloping riverfront location of the 13.8-hectare site affords views to the south across the Jialing River to the Yuzhong District of central Chongqing. The lushly vegetated site can be accessed by two roads, with a third new road that will connect the site with the newly developing Central Business District to the east. Connecting to the Natural Context and the River The design draws significant inspiration from the prominent natural conditions of the Chongqing area, ranging from the nearby confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze rivers to the mountainous topography of the site and surrounding countryside. The Jialing River dominates the natural setting of the site, and the design takes advantage of both the riverfront location and steep slopes to provide views and connections to the water. The flowing movement of the Jialing is reflected in the curving shapes of the buildings, terraces, and paths which echo the ripples of water in the river. Recent development in China has been at a rapid pace with a prevailing consciousness to demolish everything that currently stands. Our philosophy is to allow the past traditions of movement and memory of a place to inform the new plan. The defining framework of this design is a harmonious interplay of two major axes: a formal “urban` axis from town to river, and an informal “natural` axis that holds the memory of an ancient path. Formal “Urban` Axis from Town to River A formal axis in the center of the site directs pedestrians from the busy city street at the top of the project down to the waterfront. This spine represents the urban, public realm of the project, pulling the pedestrian flow down this central path and then laterally toward the east and west sides of the site, parallel to the riverbank. This public axis is animated by a grand flight of steps that echoes the traditional street-stairs in Chongqing and neighboring towns, and is punctuated by attractive terraces and viewing platforms. Retail shops are located on both sides of this central spine on the ground and second floors, adding to the lively urban character of the space. Informal “Natural` Axis Memory of Ancient Path In counterpoint to the formal north-south axis is an informal natural path that meanders across the site from east to west. This informal path preserves the memory of the winding, “ancient path`, as we have come to call it, which pedestrians have traveled from the port and docklands to the upper town for hundreds of years. Along this curved, organic walkway, surprising views are framed in all directions down to the river, sometimes concealed between buildings, and sometimes opening up from lookout points. Providing dramatic views at every turn and bordered by lushly landscaped terraces, this informal, organic path represents the more private and intimate realm of the project. Five Communities at Multiple Scales Five communities or neighborhoods will contain a mix of low, mid-rise, and tower buildings, with the distinctive identity and character of each neighborhood defined by the conditions in and around that neighborhood (central spine, waterfront promenade, upper or lower slope, city roads). Unlike a western low-density housing solution, these buildings must relate to Chinese high-density. Multiple scales of habitation, building massing, heights and spaces between buildings are carefully balanced to frame vistas of the Jialing River, and to lend human dimension to the project. The plan bridges the need for high-rise development by stepping the buildings up, like hills at the foot of mountains. The braided movement of the river connecting through the city and the reflecting movement of the water influenced the rotation of the high-rise towers towards different directions, and the lower and mid-rise buildings are curved to optimize views of the river. A Symbol of the Community We are attracted to great streets not just as a destination of necessity but as a destination of leisure and activity. The monumental quality of the Grand Stairway becomes a city destination point in itself, a link between the upper town and the waterfront. A symbol of the community of Chun Sen Bi An, the Grand Stairway also provides a public amenity for the larger urban area. A sequence of escalators complements the stairs, providing easy access to the waterfront promenade along the southern edge of the site, immediately above a line of car showrooms and offices. The promenade, the Grand Stairway, a series of terraced plazas, and the opportunity for outdoor cafés all provide places for people to wander, socialize, and take in the activity of the street. This forms an attractive precedent for future developments along both sides of the river. This new urban community can profoundly impact how people can live in the future, improving the quality of life in the entire region by providing sustainable solutions for living near the water, and bringing the body and memory back into architecture.

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