Southern Island of Creativity / Chengdu Urban Design Research Center

bird's eye view 01

Designed by Chengdu Urban Design Research Center, the “Southern Island of Creativity” is the start-up phase land of the Eastern New Town which endeavors to develop creative industry and is one of the 13 strategic function zones of future Chengdu, . The Eastern New Town consists of three “Islands” based on their varied topography. The southern one is located in hallow hills, which stands adjacent to the art village which came into being spontaneously. The design team for this project consisted of architects Liu Gang, Zhang Yang, Yu Jia, Lan Mi, and Xu Xin. More images and architects’ description after the break.

bird's eye view 02

The topography is a strong identity of this district especially in the plain city of Chengdu. It directly leads to the design outcome: the huge fall of space density between the inner part and surroundings emphasizes the morphology of an “urban island”; the topography identity is also regarded as the carrier for diverse functions (mall, retail, museum, workshop, office, hotel, residence etc.) and diverse activities such as shopping, exhibition, salon and leisure. Based on these concepts the design focuses on the following key points:

- The edge of the “island” which forms the border and splits the whole district into high and low density areas.
- The humanized consideration of the annex of the “edge” buildings.
- The chain of vitality goes through the whole island, and the diverse characteristics and space identities of each part of this “chain” are considered based upon the specific locations, functions, transportation system and topography including the urban lobby, sky street, and network of creativity.

bird's eye view 03

The urban island is the central part of the island which acts as the key node of central axis that connects the other two islands. It also includes a large open space for public on the ground and a transportation stop and interchange underneath with central tall buildings for international companies of creativity.

core district

Different layers of the “sky street” are containers for diverse activities such as shopping, refreshments, art exhibition and driving based upon the topography. The sequence of diverse building scale and connections introduce a rich, comfortable and continuous experience.

museum in the sky

Rather than creating big buildings such as museums, which is usual in many Chinese cities, we propose to introduce a sequence and network of creative industry facilities which make up the central museum, portal museums, block facilities, and the small.

Below is a video animation of their recently accomplished urban design project.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Southern Island of Creativity / Chengdu Urban Design Research Center" 26 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • olojd

    there is a(nother) chinese copy, these time of the BIG project for Kazakhstan, in Astana, for the national library (the sky street 06)!

    when will the Chinese people start to produce something, not only to make these kind of copies?

    • citi3000






      • yang Cheung

        anyway, thanks for ur comment

  • nyaong

    We can see all the buildings which we’ve known in this city

  • sandy zou

    come on~this’s an urban design which focuses on the quality of places, not a building design

    • John-David Carling

      and thus putting copies of someones elses buildings is very distracting from the new proposed concepts.

    • Tosh

      Can you tell me how this is URBAN DESIGN at all???

      It has nothing to do with urban design.. it looks like a couple of tall and other tiny buildings thrown on a flat piece of land.. they make no streets, all the traffic and pedestrians are separated (which basically means that the pedestrian lanes which are lifted from the ground will never be used).. the environment that this creates is totally unreal in its functionality.. it won’t work in the way the designers think it will and it will cause many problems because it is trying to be something that is socially and psychologically uncontextual to PEOPLE.. it will cause loads of travelling by car and those bits of green surrounding it will probably get built in with buildings, as randomly thrown as these ones, in about 10 years or so..

      This is bad urban design and bad architecture. Congratulations on your misunderstanding of how cities work.

      • yang Cheung

        have u ever been to China, and the city of Chengdu? if the answer is no, congratulations on ur misunderstanding :)

      • Katsudon

        Tosh, I guess you’ve never been to China. The traffic layout will work because people have no other choice to cross the street.
        It just makes the practice of the city very unconfortable and as you noticed it psychologically uncontextual, unless you’ve been born in such environment or only known this kind of city for decades…
        This is just non human-friendly, makes a big car kingdom and is opposite to a sustainable city R&D.

      • yang Cheung

        thanks to Katsudon’s sincere comment, we’ll make some changes.

  • yang Cheung

    VIMEO can’t be viewed in main land China…

  • citi3000





    • yang Cheung


  • Jtravis

    I do not see any credits in this article to the original designers of these inarguably rip-offed buildings. ArchDaily, you must be aware these are copies and yet no mention in your post?

    I think the audacity of the Chinese government to press release this atrocity is a brash exhibition of a blatant disrespect of the international design community and their corresponding governments. How will these companies/governments react to this abuse?

    Incidentally, the efforts of these Chinese folks in organizing their replicas in the site is in vein. The whole is completely void of the poetry of the parts. #fail

  • pibaba

    a typical competition in China. all the ‘famous’ projects of the past 2 years in one shot. all dress pizza!

  • BOB

    There is such a derth in creativity here… it amused me to see it tagged as “island of creativity”. generic and me too.

  • citi3000


    • yang Cheung

      建议您多来中国做做城市设计,试验下您的“真活”能控制到哪个程度。(p.s. i understand foreign urban design very well)
      还有导则不全是扯淡,桌上放着的urban design compendium from English Partnerships经常翻看与学习,get prepared。你说的走在路上想出来的“导则”不是导则的全部,也不能光凭这个就说中国是扯淡。看来你也很久不回国了。中国政府不像你想象的那样黑暗与无知,政策导向,文化特色,时间的压缩注定过程的坎坷,看清了这些,应该知道要实现真正有质量作品的技巧。在国内做事,心态与理想的坚持不移,伺机而发是最重要的,包括您说的扫盲。

  • citi3000

    其实就目前的成果来看,转译一下楼上群众的评价,就是”It’s just a ” building cloud desing”,not a urban design.” 他们已经给您的设计指出了改进的方向,看您自悟了。


    • yang Cheung

      by the way,您说的好些很在理,我也在反思设计的成果,设计一定有可以改进的地方,比如尺度上的考虑。我觉得放上来挺有收获的,领奖台不敢当,但是老外很多话还是偏激,到没到过成都不是说要去理解成都肌理文化什么的,意思是当下,此时此地的方法。我们要学的永无止尽,不会怪群众有意见,但不了解就开骂的话,我当然不会沉默,网络的东西,不来不去,只听不说,那太不好玩了。


      • yang Cheung

        以前读书时,一位老师和我说hey yang, u must learn to think globally, but act locally,呵呵,看来老外同志也蛮灵活~
        citi3000, west china’s really wonderful place for implementing your dream, at the same time doing good to people there, the local government is comparatively liberal, so i strongly recommend u to be with us if u plan to go back to China after ur further study, much better than that in SH

    • Wang Chao