The second year of the AIM Competition invited participants to implement Green Transformation to the Shougang Group, the yin of dialectics of Beijing’s urban development. The design was to play an equally as significant role as the CBD (Central Business District) in making Beijing a healthy, balanced, and attractive city. It shall become a “Central Recreation District”, differentiated from the Central Business District. Due to the vast area of the Shougang Group site, this year’s focus was on the redevelopment of Er-Tong. Because green transformation spans the multidisciplinary layers of architecture, landscape and urban design, this year’s AIM competition recognized five different awards for outstanding performance. More images and information on the awarded projects after the break.
Best Architecture Design Award: David Chen
According to economic development and population growth, the city development expand to the suburbs for further expansion, the pattern of city has been carve into Industrial district, business section and residential area and so on, depend on the space of citizen need；After decade, the pattern has been overlap for new kind of space requirement. And the regulation of city pattern is, histories that carve by citizen activities.
From 2005, Shougang Group starting transfers their productivity and technology into Hebei and some other place else, the site is an old industrial district with massive area and low density around. Shougang Industrial district was design for high efficiency production and transportation, so the site are design into horizontal and rectangle (transport way) and vertical (buildings); But the industrial pattern are different from the space that created city event and city activities.
To remain historical memories of old industrial district, and to create cultural and creativity industries with nature involve, the concept are the overlap of cities pattern. Furthermore, in the development of city in three-dimensions, development can’t just wipe out the old patterns, but can overlap the pattern in vertical way such as history, natural, business and culture, and it can create much opportunity for spatial possibilities.
Redefine the skyline
In the common concept of industrial factory, are the combine of chimney and gigantic factory buildings, in the pace has been transfer into a public park, the concept of gloomy factory still remains in the space, and it would be awkward for a factory building standing surround by dwellings. So using translucent box put on the outline of chimney and factory building, to weaken the sense of factory, so it can blend into the sense of metropolis, and recreated the new skyline.
New pattern creating
Creating new corridors by cutting and passing through the existed factory structures, breaking the independent space of each building and given a new possibility of use. In the new pattern, the void and are defined by the use of activities, like if for holding an exhibition, space can be adjusted for the need of requirement, the space are not cut off by a solid wall；Because carve of gigantic factory buildings create the blur between inner and outdoor space, so it can becomes part of public park when the end of activity.
The city life axis
People can’t feel the connection axis between Shougang and Beijing city when standing on ground surface, so got to create a wind corridor to raise up the vision of people, to connected the Shougang and city, and become part of axis in the city life.
Best Exterior Space Design Award: Longqiang Jin
Shijingshan district was an industrial area in Beijing in the past ,as the old giant factory being left ,how can it be transferred into an active part in the developing of the whole district? The giant simple individuals on the site are for the reason of the clear-defined process of manufacture, adding focuses to the site,while the spacial dialogue between different parts was abandoned,thus it”s also a dominant shortcoming for the establishment of the coming vivid city life.
The fringe of the city was once for industry,from the time it became industrial-downfallen and want to be transferred into active part of the whole Beijing,only found the lack of content to start with and the condition of multi-messy.can the construction of renewal become “a developed point” to stimulate the following supplement of city texture and infrastructure for the flourish of the whole district .it seems as “a process of city growth with multi-layer, multi-center development and a series of typological differentiation, expecting, anticipating and even leading the coming city growth.
1.city(renewal, vitality) 2.citizen(entertainment, education) 3.history(protection, heritage) 4.eco-system(improvement) 5.the expectation from the surrounding(function design) 6.social vitality (people, economy, culture)
The basic concept of culture and creative industry is stimulating the cooperation between different fields by “crossing edges” which result in potential to draw attention on, thus promoting the reorganization and cooperation of different fields, its success not only lies in the professional support, but also the pubic participation which not only serve as a bridge to link the social consumption with the creative industry, but also generate meaningful ideas to help make a benign self-circulation to adjust itself.
1.the visual feature of the industrial building (the way of renewal) 2.the potential way of using(the possibility of industrial buildings) 3.space as exhibition(the continuation of the space feature) 4.the efficiency of manufacture VS citizens’ leisure life(redesign of the pattern)
Finding linkage between the dominant masses and the public spaces,then organizing the whole area into a series of space to absorb the future added function,taking the main texture as the basic pattern for the area,which contribute to create a–”various balance”.
Large amount of vegetation make up for the original incompetence of the factory to provide green for public,the individual can be classified into 4 types,business ,leisure,design and exhibition,the units of yard locates in the central area,it’s of high density for studio, museum,concert,gallery…..the renewal would keep the visual feature,small masses insert into the floor below,it’s flexible with cafe,personal studio,shop…the upper masses are for public institutions,they are linked by bridge,then create a various efficiency.
Best Planning Award: Martijn de Geus, Tan Guang Ruey, Xiaogang Lian
ʻOnly that which is alive and changing stays fresh and contemporaryʼ Within Beijing we observe the potential to define urban anchor points with distinct identities. Three of such clusters are already well established (Haidian, CBD, Shunyi), if the New Southwest clusters is to compete with these areas, it needs a truly unique identity. Within our view of the Long Life Strategy, it is eminent to start with these observations, creating a legacy that inspires future generations. So we canʼt propose more of the same superficial, arrogant, shiny image of premature urban infusion. No more glittery high rise egotistical urban nothingness.
We propose a truthful, authentic and unique experience. An identity constructed by substance. Through its functional meaning, the high quality living environment, the community potential and its strong connections to the surrounding urban fabric, the Shougang area can become a true Urban Habitat. Our proposal is based on regional typological precedents that created unique points of urban refuge areas within the traditional Chinese urban fabric. (e.g. Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Siheyuan, etc). The former Ertong Factory site thus becomes a specific urban oasis, an urban monument perhaps, inside the desert of generic buildings that Beijing has come to be.
The needs of the contemporary city do not correspond to the direct desires of people. Contemporary housing areas fulfill basic needs for community, shelter and safety, only step one in Maslowʼs pyramid for human desiresʼ evolution. And as Beijing aspires to become a World City, we should establish a diversity of cultural desires. The traditional Maslow pyramid describes Western cultures, the Eastern interpretation is a great complementary approach. Thus the Ertong Urban Oasis can be a programmatic addition in this evolution at the city scale, starting with the basic needs at the perimeter and concluding in the highest desires at the most difficult to reach parts of the secluded urban oasis.
We believe in the concept of Integrated Urbanism to establish a lasting and effective urban fabric. This approach is two-fold. First of all we consider the integration of new urban developments within the existing fabric. The integration of local systems with global issues; building upon existing frameworks with an up to date mindset that is concerned with climate change, social cultural developments, etc. We use a top-down conceptual analysis combined with bottom up regional characteristics so that our interventions activate neighboring potential; reaching out.
Secondly, the concept of Integrated Urbanism builds upon the idea that the urban habitat is a complex integrated system that supports a wide variety of stakeholders. Nothing is detached, and everything is related to each other. So, we not only reach out, we also seek to create sustainable communities from within. A wide variety of building typologies, a rich mix of functions, places for exchange and interaction embedded within the ʻpublic interaction landscapeʼ are some of the elements that constitute to this approach. Our urban proposal thus activates various layers of urban life. It links to the quality of the direct living environment, but also provides a connection with the larger Beijing Urban Habitat.
In our project we want to highlight that a viable urban habitat works on different scales, all intertwined and depending upon one another. Unfortunately most of the urban planning proposals in China remain vague abstract planning schemes without any idea of concrete implementation and, vice versa, the architectural schemes donʼt have any urban connection. In our proposal the urban concepts are directly related to architectural implementations, and the architectural requirements influence the urban schemes as well. To show the full extent of this approach we highlight four distinct features within our proposal.
- a totally new urban block - an urban block that integrates existing Ertong factory facilities - an architectural transformation of one of these facilities - a new architectural intervention
Beijing Super Block
In contemporary urban areas, the largest share of the program consists of housing. As a result of functional segregation in modern town-planning these dwellings have been grouped together as islands without identity or ʻraison dʼêtreʼ. Within our proposal we provides urban identity and connected program mixture to function as a community hub. These hubs are based upon the distinct Beijing typology of the so called ʻsuper blockʼ, a grouping of mostly residential towers that define a gated collective courtyard. Rather then copying this largely mono-functional typology, we develop it further into a lively urban entity.
It evolves out of the traditional block typology, mostly south oriented, and blends within the urban plinth through a large scale podium. The podium is pierced with various courtyards and it enables the creation of a ʻpublic interaction landscapeʼ, or evolved ʻleisure gardenʼ as a place of communal connectivity to create a sustainable community. This block is thus based upon structuralist theories and already has the qualities of an integrated city in which needs can be fulfilled locally.
Beijing Super Hutong
A second distinct Beijing building typology is the Hutong pattern, with its Siheyuanʼs, or ʻCourtyard housesʼ. These houses form a dense, low-rise, pattern of buildings that enclose private and semi-private patches of tranquility. Although they have gone to strong transformation, being over populated and disconnected from the comfortable features of modern housing developments, in the past twenty or so years they have become the ultimate urban retreat for those who can afford to buy up and restore one. Well to do people (both Chinese and foreigners) are bringing back its traditional oasislike characteristics; transforming into hip bars or up scale boutique hotels.
Thus we propose the center of our plan to be the most exclusive. The ultimate get-away from hasty Beijing urban life. Surrounded by the most desirable urban features one can imagine in Beijing. No bustling streets. No traffic. No pollution. No people. Instead there is fresh air, a large forest, gardens, a classy hotel, peace and a sense of genuine comfort. All within a short distance of public transport, road infrastructure, business services, etc.
Working on existing structures, be it urban, social or architectural, requires a careful approach of assessing current conditions and defining future development directions. Our approach considers the quality of the existing structures, its potential for modification; defines where interventions are required and how we can thus transform the overall identity of the area. We selected the buildings that are most suitable for redevelopment as these have to potential to not only be transformed, but also transform the program that is being housed inside of out.
In this way the quality of these large, open plan structures for Beijing is first of all the ability to create a climatically controllable environment. All of a sudden you can play ʻoutsideʼ all year round, despite freezing cold, heavy rain or withering heat. Buildings become shelters.
One of the largest structures we keep can become a high school. An inspirational environment for enriched learning, embedded within a social community. A safe shelter from rough Beijing city life, but also a focus point for communal activities. Shared facilities increase operational efficiency and enable open learning environments. This transforms the Chinese educational approach from an abstract learning institution into a rich, open, social campus that reflects the growth of a sustainable community.
Brown field factory sites donʼt only offer endless advantages with their magnificent spatial structures. They also hold tough challenges in terms of the safety of their environment for instance. Decades of continuous industrial activity lead to heavy soil pollution, which disable certain parts for developments because of their environmental hazards.
After examining soil conditions at the Ertong factory site, we found that one part is particularly bad and cannot be developed as such for this moment. We propose a strategy that uses natural processes of soil remediation to regenerate this area. A wetland park (a landscape feature once common in the Beijing area) provides an attractive landscape/ leisure environment, whilst also preparing the soil for possible development in the future.
To highlight this special, transient feature we propose to use the existing concrete portal structure to place a fleeting architectural intervention. A cultural incubator that can boost cultural (and recreational) development in this area. A temporary building, perhaps, as developers are likely to develop the area again once it is safe to do so, but it might become a lasting initiative once its potential grows over time.
Best Programming Award: Chris Cornelissen, Jan Wilbers, Tim Peeters, Marta Relats
Water has been an increasing problem for the city of Beijing over the last half decade, and the appointed causes go from drought and population increase to policies which have degraded the city’s watershed due to its lack of long–sightness. The fascination of large-scale engineering projects to keep the tabs flowing has damaged the environment while consumers have felt none of the consequences of water scarcity, as water consumption has been dissociated from its repercussions when it comes to its price.
From scarcity to abundance
From nature to business: the proliferation of investments has created an enormous fast-forward economic development concentrated mainly in the Central Business District. The advantages for the corporations as well as all the jobs created are very visible. Sometimes its visibility is in the shape of pleasant high escalating return graphs; but sometimes that progress is visible through unpleasant traffic jams, as well as congested and polluted deteriorated areas.
Our proposal welcomes progress along with a nature balance. The above proverb means that when someone helps you, even if it is a small help, you should return the favor with all you can when others are in need. We think that that is a perfect metaphor for the city of Beijing as well as the Shougang Group. They both have received benefits from business and industry, nature and people. Now it’s time to balance that with a formula which returns nature and the people the favor maintaining a lucrative aspect indispensable for the survival of everyone: we have discovered that formula.
We suggest a water production plant that is immersed in a recreation area. The manufacturing of water will be achieved through the recycling of it through the water treatment plant, which will on one hand add water supply to the network along with the other eighteen of the city of Beijing and will, on the other hand, add “the burst of spring” literally, on site. The creation of a wetlands park will be a festival of water canals, tree nurseries and bird spotting areas. It is meant to be a very relaxed recreational place where to enjoy and learn from nature at the same time, making it a perfect nock for the small Beijing families living in small apartments to take their children to, to enjoy fresh air and spread the notion that it is also possible to work with nature for our benefit, not only against it.
Since the possibilities of such a rich industrial site are so numerous, along with the treatment plant and wetlands park there are other subprograms which add an edge to the project: the entertainment area and the high-tech research institute. Everything is compatible with the idea of balance in mind: create otium and negotium at the same time, that is, the marriage of leisure and trade. The entertainment area has a large supply of restaurants, teahouses, coffee shops, arts and crafts little ateliers who sell you their creations first hand, with also little science-museum-like shops where you can get anything from a pair of binoculars to use at the aviary to reproductions of the water cycle posters and books. It will be a place to enjoy but also a place which generates a myriad of new jobs, providing employment and attracting investment.
The wetlands high tech research institute is thought in the line of the mentality that is deeply concerned with the long run consequences of high environmental impact actions of urban planning, and eradicating the type of behavior that has led to water scarcity among other serious habitat problems. Teams of life sciences professionals who make this notion of harmonious planning with nature contagious to other parts of the city should work here with their actual work environment site, the Er-Tong Water Industry Park, as show case study and who knows, maybe help other cities with similar drought problems in other parts of the globe.
On a very large scale, our proposition takes into account the fact that there is a progressively alarming lack of clean drinkable water. Green solutions have largely focused on adding trees, neglecting the counterproductive effect as pressure on water resources. The so called “green wall” of China tries to stop the desertification of Beijing, and a large site like the one belonging to the Shougang Group provides the opportunity to act on it.
At a city scale, Beijing is a fast growing densely urbanized city who is still attracting people. It is of the essence that people as well as plants continue to have water, also because that has a repercussion on air quality. With the 2008 Olympic Games there were big steps taken, such as the creation of 18 new water treatment plants. The emergence of that mentality is a great leap forward in sustainability advance, nevertheless they are not embedded in the urban fabric. That must be improved for the sake of urban equilibrium and quality of the space.
When we narrow it down to the Fengtai District, we observe that the industry is moving out, as in the example of Er-Tong, so housing and commerce can move in. Right now it is the perfect time to consider developing the place with long-term views, so that there are more benefits aside from more housing and more commerce. We approach water scarcity and simultaneously create a park, along with the new developments. We obtain a neighborhood park where the commercial possibilities have multiplied.
Zooming in the park scale, we can travel through the different stages of the park. At the bottom the sludge resulting from the filtering can be taken advantage of piling it up in mounts creating little fertilized hills. Heavy cleaning can be done for drinking water. A second batch is cleaned using green filters, wetlands. These form a park in stages, from north to south, ending in a clean water park that leads from south to north. Along the main axis the water goes from pipe to the canal, symbolizing this process. Since for water cleaning we need plants, we might as well grow them commercially to improve diversity in plants for dry areas, and stimulate “green” purchase of plants through a garden center which sells them. Further functions above described include an educational center, a high tech research institute, as well as an area of very commercial use (shops, starbucks, ferriswheel). The west side strip is a industrial heritage park similar to the one in the Ruhr area, in Germany.
Best Sustainable Design Award: Zhonghui Li
With the rapid economic development in the course of urbanization, a series of problems have emerged, including the traffic, the environment and the safety. Located in the western end of Chang’an Avenue in Beijing, the site covers a large area with sufficient spare building spaces, looking like a large industrial park that has seldom been visited. Within its current area, the blast furnaces, the workshops, the drainage system, and the green lands combine to form a complete industrial landscape.
The key to the design lies in how to integrate the old industrial sites with the modern urban spatial structure, and how to transfer from the high energy consumption and highly polluting production model to the low-carbon production model combined with problems presented above in the three points, we bring up the concept —- Vertical Park. Transferring the chimney which is offered Greenland and green oxygen to the citizen is a good solution.