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Revealed: Johnson and Studio BAAD's 'BioPort'

Further details of the masterplan for the 'BioPort'project on the east headland of ChongMing island, north of Shanghai, won by Studio BAAD in cojunction with Philip Johnson and Alan Ritchie Architects (AJ 1.11.01) have been released this week.

Studio BAAD's Philip Bintliff told the AJ that the brief from the Chinese government was to design a sustainable settlement for the 21st century, which took into account the delicate biology of the area, which includes an internationally recognised wetland bird sanctuary. Ecologists from EcoScope advised the architects on the local biodiversity to help the meshing of the 'artificial world with the delicate local environment.'

The masterplan includes projects for sustainable settlements and infrastructure, an exhibition arena, a university for media and IT studies, a ferry port, research facilities for study and management of wetland habitats and appropriate bio-industries and bioagriculture projects.

A 4km 2lake is planned, around which hotels, resorts and the university will be built. A freshwater canal will also be constructed to improve the quality and supply of water on the island.Renewable energy sources - including wind, tidal and solar power - will be the island's main source of power.

Other challenges that had to be dealt with included the telecommunication problems of the area. It is susceptible to typhoons, so large telecom masts are not viable. The solution is a large hovering 'inflatable kite wing', on which will sit the host of necessary satellite dishes and antennae.On the approach of a typhoon, it can be pulled back to ground level and protected from the storm.

The masterplan will lead to a huge increase in population.At present only a few thousand farmers live in the area.The population is expected to be in the region of 100,000 by the end of the project.

Bintliff estimates that the project will take 20 years to complete.The cost of the housing alone is estimated at about US$1billion (£690 million).

The island will be linked to Shanghai by a bridge and tunnel which will cover the 25km stretch to the mainland.Work on the tunnel is about to start and the bridge will be completed by 2005.

Bintliff said the plan had been challenging, but exciting, as it dealt with an island that was 'alive and growing'. The165km 2area is the largest alluvial island in the world and has grown from nothing 1,200 years ago to 70 km long and 20km wide now. It grows by 500ha per year and lies in the mouth of the Yangtse River.

lThe public inquiry into Studio BAAD and Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects project at Chavasse Park, Liverpool (AJ 29.6.00), opened this week. It will last until spring 2002.

More images at ajplus. co. uk

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