Yichang New District Master Plan
Yichang, China 1,430,000 sq m 2013
Overlooking the Yangtze River, the site experiences the most unique natural environment of Chinese "Shan Shui" (mountains and water). With mountains and water at the core of Yichang's landscape identity, the planning concept reincorporates this natural environment into an urban environment through the architectural typology and urban morphology. The public buildings are a conceptualization of the "mountains". The Public Service Center is to be built on a hillside and is the highest "mountain" of the "mountain range". It includes four high rise buildings and four low rise courtyard buildings placed two to each side of the central Conference Hall. The programs are thoughtfully planned with administrative space located in the high rise buildings and executive offices placed around the courtyards. By opening up the offices, the design seeks to break the negative stereotype of an aloof government and to help create a down-to-earth image. Nestled south of the Public Service Center in the heart of the district are the Museum, Planning Exhibition Center, and the ancillary community facilities. The design of the public buildings draws inspiration from the silkworm cocoon, as a tribute to Leizu, a legendary Chinese empress who invented the silk loom. As an eco-friendly feature, the primary structure of a reinforced concrete shell is placed within the iconic “silk” cocoon wrapper. The shell is approximately 1.5 meters behind the envelope, with the envelope acting as a sun shading device. To achieve the organic nature of the unrepeated patterns in the façade, the building envelope is parametrically generated and built with recycled aluminum pipe in a size to provide the desired effect and work with the overall scale of the building. We have developed the site design to take advantage of Yichang's abundant rainfall. It combines rainwater harvesting with sustainable mechanical design towards an overall strategy for energy recycling. The recycled rainwater will be re-introduced to the central park area as environmental water features and irrigation water for the landscape. Meanwhile, the 8-meter elevation change across the site will be utilized to generate hydropower for the numerous kinetic sculptures placed in the park. The project will become an urban oasis, serving as an integrated mixed-use functional area with administrative, commercial, office, residential, leisure and other functions, as well as providing a new social and cultural focus for the rapidly growing city.