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Beijing CBD reimagined in Space Syntax’s low carbon masterplan

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CAUPD/Space Syntax use urban movement analysis to remodel central Beijing

Plagued by its reputation for congestion and smoggy public transit, Beijing’s Central Business District leaves much to be desired when compared to the ‘world class city’ ideal. Factor in the prevalence of energy-intensive buildings and lack of public open space, China’s capital is far from ‘green’.

Due to both substantial future growth predictions and pressure from businesses desiring to promote their sustainable credentials, the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning & Design (CAUPD) designated the Chaoyang district for expansion to the North-East during 2009. Seven teams, including Space Syntax, were invited to submit proposals to form a radically different vision of the future.


Source: Space Syntax

The resultant joint masterplan emphasises both sustainable development and socially-centered design whilst celebrating the rich cultural history of Chaoyang. New developments aim to integrate with existing neighbourhoods and embrace the wider city through human-scale streets and public spaces.

Space Syntax’s signature urban movement analysis lays the foundation of the transport network proposal, pinpointing patterns of social and economic trade fundamental to the future viability of their projects. Observation of ancient circulation routes and landmark buildings promotes historic continuity and awareness of place over complete modernist overhaul.


Source: Space Syntax

Pedestrian movement, cycling and use of public transport are encouraged through connecting key transport nodes and routes at varying scales. The aim is to tackle the high degree of severance that currently exists between the CBD and surrounding districts accentuated by previous overreliance on the car.

Renewable power fuels this cleaner energy network: every building in the scheme doubles as a power station, generating energy and controlling emissions. Notable buildings within the masterplan include the Energy Tower - a retrofit of the historic power plant - to serve as a place for hands-on education and the Golden Stage opera house to act as the main cultural attraction, with the support of a critical mass of creative industries.


Source: Space Syntax

This is a new dawn for Chaoyang, the ‘Sunrise District’ of Beijing. The national CBD creates a place in time where history is revealed and where the future is present, where lifestyles are changed.

People will come from all parts of the world to meet, greet and trade on a Golden Stage; to walk beneath forests of trees and canopies of lanterns; to sit on terraces and witness the creation of ideas; to share in the generation and consumption of sustainable energy.’

from Design Vision Statement, Space Syntax

This low carbon environment promises to offer a space for human interaction alongside a platform of cultural celebration. Space Syntax have created an ambitious vision of realistic urbanism, aiming to sustain life throughout the capital and create a sense of place, reaffirming China’s growing influence on the global stage.


Source: Space Syntax

Clients: Beijing CBD Administration Authority / Chaoyang District Government

Partners: China Academy for Urban Planning & Design / Beyond Green / The Bartlett / University College London

For more information see the Space Syntax website

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