Beijing Central Business District / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill


The Chicago and Shanghai offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) won the international design competition to expand the Central Business District (CBD). This project was also awarded an AIA Honor Award.

Basically, their plan proposes the creation of 3 new districts anchored by parks and green boulevards as you can see on the renderings. But the an important aspects of this project is on the small scale, a network of walkable blocks to offer pedestrian (and bike) friendly scale for development. Because sustainable doesn´t have to mean just “green”, but also to offer an environment on which people can actually establish social relations on a neighborhood scale.

The plan also proposes an express commuter rail service between the Beijing Capital International Airport, the CBD, and high speed rail service at Beijing South Station. A new streetcar system is proposed to conveniently link all areas of the CBD.

Sometimes, a good transportation system and focusing on the pedestrian scale sound obvious, but they are the foundations to establish neighborhoods that can bring life to parts of the city 24/7, instead of business districts that die at night with dormitory cities with a lack of services.

More images after the break.

Cultural District © SOM
Cultural District © SOM
Chaoyang North District © SOM
Chaoyang North District © SOM
Gateway District © SOM
Gateway District © SOM
Cite: Basulto, David. "Beijing Central Business District / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill" 26 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • zetre

    So those walkable streets, are those the ones in the third image?

    • Vitsee


    • David Basulto

      No, on the 1st one. I´m trying to get more details on that part….

      • Nathan

        Our office did the landscape design for the project, let me see if I can get you a better write up.

      • David Basulto

        Nathan, any luck?

      • db

        i think all the roads in the 3rd image are existing. the masterplan definitely looks more pleasant than the existing Beijing CBD, but it’s hard to tell without views from the ground.

  • janlist

    ok, wait and see some drawing


    Oh goodness, we need much more information

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