Tianjin Culture Park

Beside overall Urban and Traffic Planning, the commissioned services included Landscape & Open Space Design of the entire Culture Park, integration of subterranean traffic and retail areas, Water Management and guidelines for Lighting Design.
The project is core, focal point and “heart and soul” of the entire city. The area comprises Opera House & Chinese Theatre, 5 museums, Library, Youth Centre and a vast shopping mall, with totally 1 million m²GFA (85% newly constructed).

A core area of about 400x1200m forms a generous open space, able to accommodate a variety of large-scale public open air events. A dynamic set of cultural spaces are interconnected and unified through the artful use of water as core design element.

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Fuzhou Hengjie Heritage Intervention

Today, Wenchangli District is the most complete cultural area in the city of Fuzhou. In Song dynasty, Hengjie Street was the main road leading from Wenchang Bridge to Zhengjue Temple. It was the starting point for the development of the whole riverside district, north and south. During the Minguo period it incorporated the Catholic church and other notable landmark buildings. After 1949, its urban situation experienced a fracture with the development of new large scale residential buildings.

The central concept of this intervention project is the protection of the built and unbuilt heritage, and its gradual improvement, preserving the cultural and architectural values while organically incorporating business and commercial functions related to tourism.
The protection of the existing buildings and cultural experiences has the purpose of maintaining the existing sense of history, time and way of life. A step-by-step development improves the heritage in phases recovering the original culture and gradually increasing the content of experiences, according to the growth of demand in a reasonable combination.
The working background is formed by three main sources: The intervention level of the preservation planning done by CAUPD with historical and cultural background study; the architectural measurements, on-site discussion, technical exploration and analysis; and the commercial strategy and product definition.

The three main elements are combined to create a “New Hengjie Street”, based on: The physical heritage (i.e. the preserved and restored architecture and landscape); the cultural heritage (with the high culture of Linchuan and the local historical functions of the past); and the new touristic vision (with commercial functions necessary to attract and serve visitors).
The plaza at the main crossing is the heart of Hengjie Street. It embodies the most important values of the district in a warm and lively, elegant outdoor space: Mudanting Plaza.
The noblest Minguo and Gan style facades are restored and brought to view, linking them to Linchuan high culture – as elegant Hotel and Library.
All the historical functions are recovered, the bank and traditional craft workshops as exhibit spaces mixed with restaurant or cafés.

To the east we encounter the fabric arts and crafts area, marked by the Fabric Arts Plaza at the crossing of Dongxiangcang Street, where the Gan style façade buildings on both sides of the plaza are restored and repurposed as restaurant, boutique hotel and fabric arts workshops.
The main research and analysis was focused on finding an identity for Hengjie Street and covered the history of the Wenchangli district, its urban character and potential, its architecture and landscape heritage, and its own function of commercial history.
The urban role of the Hengjie Street sector is to create connections between the areas north and south to form a complete Wenchangli historic cultural district, incorporating all existing resources, serving as a “Linchuan cultural window”.

The existing situation reveals different conditions and architectural styles of different value. The preservation strategy will guide the intervention with the goal to highlight these values.
The architectural heritage is mainly expressed in the facades. The facade analysis revealed 42% Gan style, 36% mixed or damaged, 4% Minguo style, and 18% post 1949 modern.
In order to strengthen and highlight the architectural values, facades are restored, repaired and rebuilt, eliminating those with no value, reinforcing the historical character of Hengjie Street. Some modern elements are added to achieve a diverse, realistic town atmosphere. After the intervention, 80% is related to historical style, 7% is Minguo style, 6% is demolished for public spaces and 10% are modern elements.
Another source of identity is the original mix of commercial functions of Hengjie Street, which still rests in the memory of its oldest inhabitants. These functions are recovered and integrated as tourist resource, as exhibition spaces and workshops in combination with cafés and restaurants.

In the first stage of development and intervention, nodes 1 and 2 can demonstrate the strategy.

Node 1

The first operation is the creation of new urban connections required to improve connectivity and cultural synergy from north to south.
A new plaza marks the main crossing of Hengjie Street with this new north south connection. Both plaza and new alleys also reveal Ming walls, previously hidden to view.
The existing functions are recovered and restored as exhibition spaces with art workshops related to the traditional crafts sold on these properties.
The buildings with strong architectural value are preserved as relic houses.
A new boutique hotel is proposed, restoring the important Minguo and Gan style facades and preserving interior layouts, whereas in the deteriorated areas only the original spatial layout is preserved for new guestroom functions.

Node 2

On the crossing of Hengjie Street and Dongxiangcang Street, another plaza is proposed, demolishing modern buildings of limited value.
The existing craft shops are restored into the memory of visitors by repairing and rebuilding two fabric workshops.
A sculptural setting is created in the plaza.
Other buildings are restored as cafés, restaurants and youth hostel, in an alley which – in the future – will connect to the Central Plaza of the whole Wenchangli District.

Changchun ‘Longxiang Plaza’

Adjacent to the two arterial roads, the project enjoys outstanding connectivity. The Beihu Wetland Park on the west side of the site is of great appeal… The design makes full use of the landscape resources so that the planned new buildings can all have access to the beautiful scenery. In the future, diverse commercial formats (leisure, commercial, hotels, apartments, offices, etc.) will attract a large number of business people. The dynamic and vigorous architectural style also offers a striking and attractive urban scene.

The overall project is designed to be low in the south and high in the north, in order to respect the central location of the existing Jixing Building and to ensure best views of all buildings along Beihu Park.
The plan outlines a city skyline that is gradually rising from south to north. The high-rise buildings in the plot are surrounded by water bays of Beihu Park from the south to the north, forming a high point on the northernmost super-tall buildings as an important landmark of the city. The high-rise buildings will serve as offices in the future, and they all can enjoy splendid views of Beihu Park.

The southernmost plot among the three – on the west side of Beiyuanda Street – has been positioned as the Center of Science and Technology. The southeast side of the plot is for multi-storey buildings, whose volume and scale are relatively small, while the layout is flexible to serve as individualized exhibition space. At the same time, the design avoids blocking the view of Jixing Building.
Several tall buildings are arranged on the west side (along the lake), as SOHO office space. Multi-storey buildings will be designed with a rooftop garden to create pleasant views. The central plot (north side of Jixing Building) is planned to be ‘Longxiang (Phase I) Lifestyle Plaza’ including a five-star international hotel. 3 or 4 storey buildings will form commercial space so as to meet the needs of the High-tech Zone. The hotel will have guest rooms on higher floors facing the lake, so that every room offers optimal views.
The plot on the north side is planned to host ‘Longxiang (Phase II) Future Plaza’, a ‘Water World’ complex, a quasi-5-star business hotel, serviced apartments and super high-rise office buildings (220 meters).
The plot on the east side of Beiyuanda Street is planned as Financial Centre, which echoes the planned buildings on the west side.
The underground (garage) of the four plots will be connected.

Proposal 1 uses natural arc elements in the design of the entire project to create a stable and smooth overall image.
Proposal 2 highlights the volume of buildings and vibrancy of space accentuating the beauty of geometric elements and making the building full of tension and vitality. The façade design adopts a diversified approach with futuristic art, emphasizing new technologies and catering to people’s aspiration for innovation and exploration.

Fuyang Ying River East

The business area includes an iconic super high-rise building with a height of 180 meters as well as low-rise commercial streets for continental European style shopping.
The relationship between Anhui Province and the German State of Lower Saxony are a foundation for tourism and for the transfer of technology and tradition in beer brewing and other related businesses. German-style Biergartens are placed along the river bank providing an authentic atmosphere of German leisure culture.

The location of the plot offers splendid views towards the river delta and the city centre directly behind. In order to take advantage of the views and the location along the river, revitalizing the waterfront and creating reasonably sized commercial facilities is decisive for the success of the project. Three main design principles have been traced:
Maximized view connections, attractive work spaces & leisure activities, and a public Waterfront Promenade.

A continuous circuit linking the main commercial areas at strategic points supports the development to become a vivid, active area with diverse functions.
Located straight in the axis of the delta, the office and hotel towers rotate their direction, thus emphasizing the views towards the delta. The towers are designed to create a choreographic three-dimensional silhouette along the river. At the same time they are facing the green island towards the south, providing visual connections and welcoming the traffic crossing the bridge.
Creating a commercial podium at several levels is a strategy to expand the views to the delta. Directing the commercial area towards the centre and entering from the main access points, leads people in and contains the flow inside. It helps creating an important core for business and commerce.

The residential area comprises high-end apartments with best views towards the Ying River and the city center beyond. The residential buildings have two orientations to optimize both the views towards the river and the sun exposure. Different angles between the buildings avoid blocking the views.

Qinhuangdao HSR Station district

By adding contemporary and green architecture and by inventing and developing a convenient infrastructure for vehicles and pedestrians to cross from one side of the station to the other without interference.
The urban expansion around the station will be seen as proof of a tolerant, modern and smart city, adding both mature and charming features to the city image.

RhineScheme’s task was to design the non-residential areas only.
The northern intervention site occupies a total area of 9.3 ha; the smaller south site has 3.4 ha.
The functions inside the southern area interact as a small town, with a five star hotel, office towers and commercial street, where people have a pleasant stay, workplaces and shopping facilities directly connected to the HSR train station. The uses are organized around a series of interconnected plazas forming a semi-circle with focus on the train station.

The northern areas welcome the passengers with a pair of super high-rise towers, both 205 meters tall. These twin towers create an iconic landmark in the new city skyline.
The further north is marked by mainly residential areas, where low-rise commercial streets along the Central Avenue and the avenue surrounding the train station offer convenient shopping and leisure facilities.

Changshan Eastern City

In general terms, the urban structure is based on hierarchy and identity. Between the different quarters, landscape-designed areas are creating a visual and physical connection, so that citizens can benefit from green recreation areas and the riverside.
The arrangement of blocks makes a spatial partition of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Spheres of different privacy are defined, and high-quality green areas are provided for the adjacent buildings. Major quality of the development is its sophisticated assignment of ‘public’, ‘semi-public’ and ‘private’ areas which is a crucial feature for the success of a city.
The building heights descend from the Northern main road to the areas close to the riverside, paying respect to the buildings of the old town along the opposite river line.

The mixed-use Core Area serves as bridge-head connecting to the old town, across the river. A cluster of several high-rise office buildings are going to shape a significant sub-center of the entire area. Mixed-use functions that make cities attractive in their day-and-night-rhythm are located here. Due to its modular structure, the Core Area is flexible to react to modified requirements on the timetable of development.
In the centre of the development, serving as a landmark, a little commercial village surrounding a small harbour creates the main attraction. The village – including a high-rise hotel with conference and service facilities – is directly orientated towards the waterfront and enhances the leisure-time atmosphere. Footpaths into the development area and natural hiking paths along the river and green areas will emphasize this area as focal point. To enable pedestrians a carefree and secure street-crossing, a vantage platform as bridge leads from the second level of the commercial village to the riverside with café and restaurant at its end.

The urban structure of residential and landscaped areas create a well-balanced spatial concept with multifaceted relations, links and interfaces. In this decentralized concept, the residential quarters create a livable environment that follows the aim of clearly defined neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood serves the daily needs of its residents by an adapted offer of shops, retail, services and socio-cultural facilities. The general idea is a city of short distances, which creates a surplus for certain user-groups and assures a vital environment and specific identity for each quarter.

Dongli Lake CBD

Maintaining stability and durability of the overall planning while being flexible to implement a diversified architecture, is the key to every sustainable urban planning.
More than that, a sound urban design is able to shape a bigger image that echoes the remembrance of other cities in the world: The Central Plaza with its radial street system can make people envisage ‘Potsdamer Platz’ in Berlin with its combined performance of contemporary architecture. The echoing between landmark buildings and landscape axis reminds of powerful spatial gestures like ‘La Défense’ or ‘Champs Élysées’ in Paris. The planned large-scale glazed shopping arcades will remind people of the vivid ‘Galleria Vittorio Emanuele’ in Milan.
But the urban planning recalls as well images of Tianjin with its own unique cityscape. The pleasant pedestrian and business spaces along the river evoke the charming city quarters between Haihe River and Race Course Road. At the same time, Dongli Lake CBD is equipped with its own unmistakable features – functional, pragmatic and poetic ones.

The planning area is divided into 3 parts: Two business areas north and south-west of the watercourse, as well as a central Cultural & Administration Area between those two. These three main plots consist of different secondary plots with multiple connections, shaping a graduated hierarchy with corresponding landmark buildings.
Waterfront towers are forming the corporate image of the whole district with a powerful skyline of high-end offices, hotels and business facilities. Landmark buildings in the river-bend area, overseeing and protecting the whole district, will create a visual name card for both Eastern and Western Lake.
The central plot with its mix of culture, entertainment and leisure accommodates the district’s Administration Centre, Museum, Music Hall, Theatre and various recreational facilities close to the lakeshore. Curved buildings embedded in an organic landscape transport the idea of communication and culture. In the northwestern tip of the site, a unique studio building can host outdoor music festivals as cultural brand of the entire Lake District. The audience can directly view the floating stage on the lake, with the landscape as natural stage setting.

The existing water landscape has been developed; additional landscape features have been integrated, focusing on sports functions, meditation and recreation. People will enjoy an exciting mix of green relaxation and dynamic recreation, and experience agreeable lakeshore promenades and splendid riverside environments.
Two landscape axes are forming a unique double corridor that makes full use of the most attractive places as well as the wetland system between lakefront and riverside. A carefully designed landscape bridge with various shapes is crossing the district diagonally and connecting various transportation nodes. Each intersection opens views to multi-layered courtyards, view axes and landmark buildings.

Taiyuan South Station District

Every railway station is at the same time central and initial point of urban development and representative name card of the city for incoming passengers. RhineScheme’s comprehensive approach was to create an urban district with outstanding appearance, which nonetheless creates a smooth and continuous link with the surrounding urban patterns.

Several urban elements have been developed and integrated into an overall urban fabric:

Firstly the railway station itself serves as main linkage within the urban structure. Facing south-west and north-east, its two plazas are equipped with suitable uses for the surrounding areas. The planning makes them memorable elements by showcasing a corporate image of the city in appropriate scale. Beside the two main plazas, a variety of smaller squares for urban life and public exchange are located in commercial and mixed-use areas around the station. One major goal was to enable a pedestrian walkthrough with few disturbances and short distances.

The ‘Green Spine’ – beside station and plazas – is the third landmark to create a unique urban appearance with its sequence of high-rise buildings placed in an organic landscape with rich topography. Open from and towards the railway station side, it offers various integrated shopping facilities. More closed and covered by plants from the city side, it serves as noise buffer for the elevated highway. The ‘Green Spine’ will be experienced as a vivid promenade within a pearl-string of office towers, shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. It is attractor and destination for the whole district.

Close to the railway station, mixed-use quarters serve as top address for companies’ headquarters, offices,   service facilities, medical practices, consultants’ premises, restaurants and cafés. Each quarter has its own public area with commercial facilities and is directly connected to leisure and sports facilities along the railway line. Housing areas are forming the second basic pattern with a refined mixture of public areas with central facilities and green recreational parks.

Due to the complex traffic hub on different levels, the dense city functions and the sheer amount of citizens, the area will be burdened by heavy vehicle traffic. More than the number or size of street lanes, their optimized connections are precondition for a smooth traffic flow. An effective traffic management system will focus the traffic flow to few main roads, while the remaining road network is only determined by local traffic. A circular traffic concept connects the inner traffic with the traffic systems of all development areas and further with the superior transportation network.

 

Dongli Lake European Town

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, in countries like Spain, Italy and Greece, a number of beautiful ancient ‘white villages’ can be found. The vernacular design of these villages forms a unique ecological and sustainable environment.
They are spectacular places which express the traditional life in Europe and provide a sense of relaxation, enjoyment and romance.The intention of this project is to become an alternative for the so-called ‘European style’ spread all over China creating a very unilateral image of Europe. It also tries to avoid the mistakes of unbalanced developments which end up in greatly artificial environments with cheap and unsteady character.

After intensive research in order to understand the key features that make the ‘white villages’ so special, it became evident that it is not sufficient to stay on the surface and just copy the architecture (facades), if one wants to capture the essence and atmosphere of these villages. A design method was developed that follows the organic planning, the pattern of narrow streets and squares of differing size, the scale, shapes and volumes of the buildings (traditionally painted in white) which altogether create this unique and vivid environment. 

Inspired by the architecture and urban planning of the traditional ‘white villages’, RhineScheme’s design incorporates winding streets, public and intimate plazas, charming white houses, varied windows and balconies, beautiful courtyards, lakeshore promenades, native vegetation, as well as an attractive mix of recreational, commercial, civic, leisure, retail and residential functions scattered across the master plan, all of which provide the intended casual, humane and lively atmosphere.

The design provides the highest quality of living, working and recreational environment. It emphasizes the difference between the busy urban character of the small town and the natural and quiet appearance of the adjacent ‘Wedding Park’.

The existing water landscape of Dongli Lake has been carefully developed, and additional landscape features have been integrated, creating a continuous urban landscape with unique view connections. People will enjoy an exciting mix of green relaxation and dynamic recreation, and experience beautiful lakeshore promenades in a splendid

environment. 

Sensitively planned open spaces and water features will enhance the quality of the alleys and streets; the elimination of cars and trucks ensures that the town is pedestrian-friendly and so becomes a pleasant and convenient place to visit, live and work. A car-free environment not only makes the air cleaner, but also allows buildings to be closer together, providing more shade while allowing maximum natural light.

RhineScheme’s proposal seeks great visual quality by adapting a simple and economic structure. The most useful way to do this is locating buildings in a flexible way, using a regular geometric constant that can be adapted to the different needs and uses.

Three big plazas have been created which structure the entire small town:

The Entrance Plaza is a welcoming square which opens to the main access road and parking area, serving as information and gathering point for visitors.

The Main Plaza is at the center of the town. It is surrounded by the most important and representative buildings (theatre, church, museum, roman baths). As it happens in many European towns, it is the public space where festivals, special markets, wedding celebrations, night-life and important events take place. The Main Plaza is the heart of the town.

By contrast, the Water Plaza is in direct contact with the lake thanks to a wooden pier which provides space for many different activities and beautiful views of Dongli Lake. It is a leisure-orientated plaza where people may enjoy outdoor restaurants, bars and coffee shops and different aquatic activities.

These three plazas are connected through two main streets, hosting a large number of galleries, fashion and arts-and-crafts shops. The stone-paved streets which casually change direction provide an easy walk and a peaceful and satisfying promenade.

Besides the main streets and plazas organizing and structuring the urban body, a white labyrinth of alleys, courtyards and small plazas has been designed that make up the rest of the town in an intentionally heterogeneous way, generating a variety of different spaces.

Building plots are organized by assigning different typologies of buildings, so that streets have distinct characters and atmospheres. The curvy narrow streets are perfect for exploration. Visitors will enjoy discovering beautiful tiny plazas, intimate patios, hidden cafés, and feel like taken to a different time and place.

All the proposed architecture – although inspired by traditional Mediterranean architecture – is original and specifically designed to meet its purpose and functions.

The arrangement of the urban structure is a direct result of the business development strategy: An elaborate business concept has been drawn up that aims at generating a lively city working 24 hours a day during 365 days per year.

If the planned hotels, shops, creative industries, offices and agencies, SPA and wellness facilities, restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres want to run successfully, they need to be part of an overall and attractive tourism concept. 

To this intent, different activities and events throughout the year are planned to keep the business flourishing: in spring an Easter Market, Valentine’s Day festival, carnival activities; in summer Water Theatre and music festival, Mediterranean food markets, Spanish bull-riding; in autumn a Bavarian-style October Beer festival, grape harvest celebration, and an autumn market, and in winter ice-skating, traditional Christmas Market, and European New Year.

This business strategy – combined with the architecture and urban structure, landscape and lighting concept – will eventually create an atmosphere and character like in a typical European small town.

Fuyang Wangdian German Town

The project aims at a symbiosis of German and Chinese urban culture: by harmonious relations between built and natural environment, by generous plazas and green areas and intimate little squares and alleys. The program includes residential towers as well as low-rise town houses, convenient shopping areas in the style of German old towns, a representative district plaza surrounded by cultural buildings, and a flexible open space for different activities such as “Oktoberfest” and horse show venues.

The ‘German Town’-inspired commercial area incorporates a 5 star business hotel facing its central square in the typical size of an ancient European town. Its counterpart, the half-open and large-scale urban plaza is located just opposite of the future district civic centre, to emphasize a formal urban axis which continues further west: with a brewery exhibition and research museum and different show venues.
This north-western area is designed around an open space for equestrian shows and other related sporting activities. A club house, grandstands and the main Oktoberfest tents are encompassing a green field in their middle.
The western end offers a restaurant and bar street, with a central festival tent for entertainment shows or exhibitions.

The residential areas reflect the importance of open space planning in today’s urban life.
Big-scale landscaped green areas are a must to find balance with our natural environment and give back what is taken from nature by any new development.
Wide green belts protect the quiet residential areas from the noisy traffic of the main roads.
The vast open space in which the residential areas are embedded provides all the benefits of recreation, ecology and natural aesthetics – as necessary surplus values for citizens. Each residential plot has its own central park, with a variety of water features, allowing residents to enjoy a green environment for leisure and sport activities.
An extensive parkway interconnects the green areas with their different identities and provides a panoramic landscape experience along its winded course.