Foster + Partners draws on "historic water towns" for Shanghai neighbourhood


British architecture studio Foster + Partners has unveiled plans for the Xicen Science and Technology Centre, a mixed-use development located within the Yangtze River Delta region in Shanghai, China.

Informed by the region’s historic water towns, the development by Foster + Partners will utilise the site’s new and existing waterways to create a “waterside community” formed of homes, offices and public spaces.

Render of cultural centre within mixed-use development by Foster + PartnersRender of cultural centre within mixed-use development by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners has designed a waterside development in China

“Water and greenery are the cornerstones of this mixed-use development, which learns from China’s historic water towns,” head of studio Gerard Evenden said.

“The human-scale project establishes connections with the natural world, maximising views towards Beihenggang Lake, while carefully knitting together the site’s waterways and new pedestrian routes.”

Render of public realm within Xicen Science and Technology Centre in ChinaRender of public realm within Xicen Science and Technology Centre in China
The development will comprise a cultural centre, residences and office spaces

A cultural centre organised into two wings will form the centrepiece of the development, hosting a learning centre, theatre, exhibition space and plaza.

Its sweeping roof will incorporate a bridge-like garden with greenery and large steps that connect to the plaza.

The renders also reveal streets lined with cafes, restaurants and shops, complemented by paved outdoor seating spaces beside scenic waterways and finished with lush greenery.

Other elements include a new waterway through the heart of the development, aiming to draw people towards the cultural centre, and weaving public paths that will span across the neighbouring lake.

View of waterways and residential buildings within planned development by Foster + PartnersView of waterways and residential buildings within planned development by Foster + Partners
The offices and residences will share public spaces

According to Foster + Partners, “greenery and water will cover 35 per cent of the scheme’s residential areas”, which will be positioned behind the cultural centre and be composed of a cluster of buildings with private terraces.

These homes will share amenities and public spaces with adjacent office buildings, one of which will be positioned at the lakefront and designed to attract large organisations.

Render of waterway within Xicen Science and Technology Centre in ChinaRender of waterway within Xicen Science and Technology Centre in China
The proposal will utilise the site’s new and existing waterways

Foster + Partners will explore the use of water taxis and electric scooters for travel across the Xicen Science and Technology Centre and is also aiming to incorporate sponge city strategies to help retain rainwater and mitigate flooding.

Other upcoming projects by the studio include a two-kilometre-high skyscraper in Saudi Arabia and the renovation of a New York transit terminal.

The renders are courtesy of Foster + Partners.



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