In 2009, Kearns Mancini participated in a competition to design an International Plaza that would serve as the focal point for a masterplan of a commercial and information technology precinct in Daxing, China.
The design of the Shengming Zhiyuan Plaza sought to promote a concept that incorporated a sensitivity to nature, while projecting a modern image of bioengineering that remains connected to roots in traditional medicine. These two worlds of nature and bioengineering intertwine at Daxing, allowing the scheme to conceptually and physically juxtapose the distinct but interrelated territories of nature and scientific applications. As a result, the competition entry envisioned Daxing as a high-tech business development centre, while continuing to reinforce the prevalent associations with nature in the region.
The ground plane of the project is determined by two ordering principles - geometry and regeneration. These qualities are prominent in the traditions of Daxing, and as such the mathematical rhythm of geometry becomes a visual analogy for the foundations of intellectual activity and the rigor of progress in science. In addition, it operates as an appropriate device for the rationalization of spatial division on the site.
The existing square plan is formatted as a nine-square grid that defines the relationships between the green space, offices, exhibition hall, services and tower. The nine squares are pulled apart at the interstices to make way for the major axes of the road and prominent sightlines. A key planning strategy was that of balance and harmony, as depicted in the opposing abstract concept of yin and yang.