International competition 2nd Prize

With the slogan of “cultural city”, the protection of traditional villages has become one of the key points for the urban planning strategy in Meishan.

The site is located in the north of Dongpo District, beside Min River and its riverside avenue that connects the province capital of Chengdu in the north with the World Heritage sites in Leshan city in the south.

The rich natural elements of the site, its agricultural, wood and paddy fields, combined with the historical and cultural resources of the small villages, are representative for the region.

Meishan, Sichuan Province / China
Meishan Dongpo district government
Planning area
1.15 km²
In Dongpo District with its rich cultural resources and …

In Dongpo District with its rich cultural resources and supply of healthcare and leisure facilities, the existing, traditional Shengshou residential area has become an important tourist node. Min River, a touristic treasure in itself, is offering an ideal place for holiday life.
RhineScheme’s design approach embodies a new development model of urban and rural integration with the aim of creating a “new water town, natural village, and renewed old town” for the regional tourist resort and leisure market.
The most important guideline for the design has been to combine the three main layers: residence, forest & field and water area. Creating a harmonious symbiosis between nature and human settlement has become the main strategy.

“One corridor, two cores, three zones”: Keeping the original rural texture and retaining the original activity corridor has been one motif, keeping the traditional village core and creating a new cultural core to become the catalyst for the whole district has been the other. Final aim was linking the 3 distinct zones, the eco-hydrological area, the ancient town tour area and the culture and activity-driven new development into one vibrant entity.
To ensure comfortable access to the traditional settlement in Shengshou, the Binjiang walk is designed to create the east-west connection between site and Min River, and the north-to-south urban greenway along the river. The pedestrian streets are based on the original road design, but integrate a more pleasant residential environment to achieve a smooth transition between city and nature. Also the ecological waterfront axis provides the bivalent experience of urbanity and nature, ecology and human settlement.

In total there are seven thematic areas:
1. Traditional settlements: The traditional residences will be upgraded and renovated, the facades will be renovated, the new industry will be perfectly integrated into the old houses, and the spirit of the place will be reinvented to retain the village’s memory.
2. Interactive experience of agriculture and forestry: Rural leisure hotels are created based on the site resources to develop agricultural tourism, organic farming, and other activities to enrich the leisure life of citizens and be compatible with nature.
3. Folk handcraft experience: Preserving the culture of traditional materials, passing on intangible cultural heritage and developing traditional craft cultures such as bamboo weaving, clay sculpture, and painting.
4. “Dongpo Flavour Garden”: Using the border areas to host supporting facilities that cover: Local cuisine, Meishan Bazaar, international catering, convenience supermarkets and so on, connecting the city and the countryside.
5. Culture and art exhibition: Located beside of the main road and adjacent to the city, it has the potential to become a cultural and artistic center that serves beyond the district borders. It includes an art museum, a library and a civic cultural center. It will use green and high technology to form a new landmark in the city.
6. Wetland Park: The rich water resources on site allow building an Urban Wetland Park. Furthermore a terraced landscape can be created by the existing topography and height difference. A small island in the wetland is an ideal place for camping and picnics for young people, and its rich ecological environment is ideal life-science exhibit for children.
7. Bamboo theme park: Located independently on the north part of the site, it features and takes advantage of a large number of bamboo forests in the area. Bamboo is the obvious theme for the site. The quiet and private environment hosts a resort hotel with restaurant and a nice place for weddings. An additional sports park attracts people who love both nature and sports.

The design respects the site’s current topography and landforms and maintains the traditional residential style. According to the functional requirements the low-lying southeast part of the plot forms a lake, with the undulating riverside avenue as interesting spatial experience, while actively building features of a ‘sponge city’.
The architectural design of the Culture and Art Centre falls back on the natural and cultural elements of the area: bamboo shapes are used for its façade elements, and the building flows organically towards the lower side of the landscape like a terraced field.

Scope of services
Business concept & Conceptual urban planning
Design team
Li Ran, Pablo Molina, Zhang Bairu, Alev Selcuk, Qu Xian, Shi Ning, Yuan Hang