A unique ecological resource for an otherwise densely-populated urban region, the Xiasha district is a rural, coastal setting outside of Shenzhen. FCHA‘s second prize winning proposal for the masterplan project of Xiasha Wander Bay seeks to strike a balance between the preservation of the site’s pristine ecology and the needs of a four-season tourist town. More images and architects’ description after the break.
With its wild, natural beauty nestled between mountain and sea, the district has the potential to become a prime tourist destination for the entire Pearl River Delta if it can overcome several challenges inherent to its location: a lack of efficient transport links, land that is too limited to accommodate large, high-rise hotels, and few facilities capable of providing year-round attractions
The area’s previous masterplan was the starting point for our design process. We began by rethinking the ways the site can be accessed by various forms of transport. The location of internal and external access roads had to be modified to maximize the efficiency of car traffic and keep it away from the most environmentally and economically sensitive areas of the site. The new masterplan prioritizes pedestrian and other carbon-free forms of transportation through the introduction of a multi-layer infrastructure of transit, public space, and landscape.
The system we envision buries both parking and vehicular access roads beneath an expansive, wandering promenade that serves as the primary access route for site’s hotels and other amenities, including a ferry terminal, visitor’s center, transport hub, exhibition hall, theatre, and food court. Mass-transit nodes placed along the path help to activate its public spaces without the noise and pollution of car-traffic.
The multi-layered infrastructure of the proposal also informs the economics of the new development. By threading the promenade around the site in an Ω-like shape, previously undesirable land further from the beach becomes an easily-accessible place to construct hotels and apartments aimed at tourist interested in both the mountain and seaside activities the site has to offer. Building heights in the interior zone of the plan are limited to two stories in order maintain an comfortable human scale in which tall buildings won’t visually compete with the majestic mountain landscape.
Complimentary to the organization of circulation throughout the site is the systematic approach to landscape that maximizes preservation and access to nature. Green corridors branch out along north-south axes from the promenade and form the peripheries of the main park spaces. Water is the focus of the landscape scheme, beginning with a park that envelopes the site’s central lake, then a natural wetland for water filtration with a botanical garden for visitors, and finally an expansive beachfront. Each of these green spaces relies on the permeability of the surrounding infrastructure for access in addition to a cycling path that extends all the way to central Shenzhen.
It is our hope that the light-footprint, accessible approach of the new masterplan will trigger a wave of new sustainable planning initiatives in the surrounding peninsula as well as elsewhere in the region.