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.
Gross Project Area
Kearns Mancini Architects with CXT Architects
In Association with
As the two primary built elements in the design scheme, the research and development facility and the hotel and office tower, reference these opposite but complementary forces. One provides a strong horizontal line and hovers 15 meters above ground level; the other acts as its vertical counterpart, rising above the ground plane as the beacon of the project.
Daxing emerges as a land rich with historical connections to nature particularly in contrast to the dense urban fabric of proximate Beijing. The twenty-eight square kilometer, industrial site of the project is already regarded as a natural living environment. Adjacent to the proposed site, a river and its untamed setting offer a context that immediately embraces a green approach.
The concept of regeneration through nature infuses the design of the Shengming Zhiyuan International Plaza with a sense of tradition and an understanding of the connections between nature and the human body.
The ground plane and its existing green elements become the intuitive starting point for the spatial narrative of the project. Green space, offices, the exhibition hall and hotel are incorporated as distinct but complementary aspects of a unified urban system.