Cang Zhou Urban Renewal

PROGRAM: Site planning and conceptual building design
CLIENT: A Cang Zhou Development Company
SIZE: 642,600 m2 of building on a 18.4 hectare site. FAR 3.5
STATUS: Conceptual Planning Stage
LOCATION: Cang Zhou, Hebei Province

The site is near the center of the city and just to the west of the Grand Canal. Cangzhou is the first stop on the canal south of Tianjin. The city is famous for its acrobats and folk art traditions. The site is in two quadrants shown in red below; a larger one to the west (12.3 h.) and a smaller one to the east (6.1 h.).

The plan of the larger site to the west is organized around a traditional north-south axis with large 100 meter-high office towers at the south of the site serving as the gateway to a walled town in the northern half of the site. The mass of these office towers is broken down by connecting four separate buildings in pin-wheel fashion to a shared central core. The town is a two-story pedestrian village with a central plaza and theater. The buildings in the villages have a similar footprint as courtyard houses in a traditional village. Composed mainly of restaurants, shops, and cultural uses, the village is surrounded by a moat and a ring of office, hotel, and residential towers.

The smaller site is similar in terms of usage; a village-like two-story zone framed by towers. The towers, on this site, however, are made by forming a cluster of three, four or five two-story buildings, and then extruding the cluster to a 100-meter height. The greenspace with a giant bird-cage also uses the two-story buildings as a starting point and transforms them into a series of green blocks. This village also has a central plaza and theater as a focal point. These indoor and outdoor venues are intend to support local acrobatic performances and demonstrations of folk art traditions.

The narrow circulation spaces of both villages allow a reasonable juxtapostion of high-rise and low-rise. The tall buildings are not so visible from, or are in the background of, cohesive pedestrian precincts. The concept attempts to find an optimum balance between pedestrian-scale space and the demand for high density.