Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
The Ningbo Haishu Waterfront in China by CAZA
May 9th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: CAZA
The Ningbo Haishu Waterfront district is an island, surrounded by water on all four sides, offering a unique topographical setting in which to reimagine urban life in 21stcentury China. Contemporary Chinese cities have entered a new era of 21st-century urbanism. Old strategies for developing new districts no longer work: cities cannot rely on instant buildings, and iconic projects no longer beget their own economies.
Abiding Ningbo’s broader ‘Three Rivers and Six Banks Plan’ for increased green space and recreational development, the waterfront functions as a transition point between hard-edged rectified waterfront space and softer-edged natural conditions to the south eventually culminating in agricultural lands. CAZA’s proposed plan aims to accentuate the district as such an intermediary nexus by proposing a spatial structure in which the Buzheng East Road—a new 50-meter wide right-of-way linking across the Fenghua River—functions as the spatial and programmatic heart of activity. Two corridors of public buildings rimmed with lush greenery and landscape flank the road, synchronizing harmoniously with the joint of the Fenghua River.
Designed alongside a carefully considered modular grid, the master plan takes into account the specific realities of the tech-driven economy: its market trends, pricing patterns, demographic shifts, and ecological idiosyncrasies. Attending to the current lack of community services on site, the plan introduces several family-oriented features: an elementary school and 12-class kindergarten at 3.37 hectares; a supermarket; various residential services, comprising about 1,200 square meters in overall built area; and an additional culture and sports facility covering 1,580 square meters in build area.
The design of the waterfront is informed by diligent analysis and driven by a thoughtful approach to mixed-use districts, grounded in a four-part conceptual strategy focused on time, scales, programs, and infrastructure. CAZA’s master plan attentively engages the temporal dimension of its urban plan by presenting itself as an open source platform that invites constituents whose collective know-how benefits the creation of an active and diverse community, shifting and evolving constantly throughout time. It curates every block, street, and building into urban environments with a network of spaces that both cater to and cultivate difference on every measurable scale. Its alternative, mixedused programming enhances urban productivity through the emergence of programmatic hybrids, integrative structures, and more spaces of refuge, whether ecological or atmospheric. Its infrastructure is reimagined as soft and invisible, hosting processes of assimilation and mutation and shifting the power dynamics of urban development to the inhabitants themselves. Within this metropolitan island, CAZA has generated a vast number of possibilities for how life can unfold in the contemporary Chinese city.