GVL Gossamer has released images of their design for a 19 kilometer stretch of waterfront along the Jing River in Xi’an, China. The proposal, a finalist in an international design competition, celebrates the site’s history at the origin of the Silk Road through strategies that tap into ancient and enduring histories of traditional architecture, merchant trade, and agricultural innovation. These enduring histories are woven with contemporary influences such as responses to major climatic and environmental challenges. The design proposes a “Three Skin” approach. A “Guardian Skin” offers climate resilience and flood mitigation, an “Ecological Skin” supports onside water treatment and biodiversity, and a “Cultural Skin” captures the rich traditional history of Xi’an. Reflecting on the region’s architectural lineage of carving channels, mounding earth, and building into the terrain, the project features the sculpting of the earth as its primary driver, establishing a design language for 12 destinations along the river.
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