Serving Guangzhou, China as a distinctive emblem of China Southern Airlines’ global leadership, the winning proposal by Woods Bagot is a bold reinterpretation of the corporate campus model. A 400-hectare, mixed-use development, the three-precinct master plan integrates business, manufacturing, residential, and cultural amenities within a comprehensive open space network that supports recreational opportunity and bolsters ecological vitality. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The design establishes a sweeping physical form that unifies the Airport City site—comprising two wing-shaped parcels bisected by a major highway—and presents a legible identity that is visible from arriving and departing planes. Within this landscape, landmark buildings, parks, lakes and other features define a series of programmatic “neighborhoods” that provide a sense of order and wayfinding at the human scale.
The master plan organizes the neighborhoods into three precincts. Business, cultural, and entertainment uses as well as Southern Airlines University define the central precinct, creating a distinct heart that bridges the highway. Here, a bend in the Liuxi River naturally highlights the project’s centerpiece: an executive complex including offices, a five-star hotel and VIP club overlooking an expansive lake. Manufacturing, operations and research facilities form a second precinct to the northwest while residential and lifestyle neighborhoods compose the third precinct along the riverfront.
The landscape architectural and ecological concept—designed in close collaboration with Hargreaves Associates and Sherwood Design Engineers—overlays bold sculptural landforms with a series of contemporary urban, academic and residential landscapes. Each landscape is rendered with a unique indigenous flowering tree to further distinguish the Airport City neighborhoods and celebrate the rich Chinese garden palette. The landforms buffer the freeway and enhance views to the riverfront, while restoration zones, including a new freshwater wetlands and necklace of lakes, serve to cleanse stormwater and repair the site ecology.
Richard Marshall, Joint CEO/Director of Urban Design at Woods Bagot: “This has been a tremendously rewarding process bringing together the best talent from our London, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Beijing studios and our partners at Hargreaves Associates and Sherwood Design Engineers. China Southern Airlines’ vision for a new district that embodies its global leadership and supports ongoing innovation afforded an opportunity to really advance our thinking about the connections between economy, ecology and culture. We look forward to our continued collaboration.”