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Green Building | Steel

July 30, 2004

An overhead view of the proposed core district of Fengjing New Town in China. A series of landmark buildings, including a cultural centre, surround the waterfront.

Rendering courtesy CORBAN & GOODE/EDA COLLABORATIVE INC.

Modern planning marries ancient wisdom

Toronto architects designing satellite community in China

BY PATRICIA WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

Toronto-based Six Degrees Architecture and Design Inc. has been awarded a contract to design four-square kilometres of Fengjing New Town, one of nine proposed satellite communities to be built outside the city of Shanghai in China.

Construction costs are estimated at about $180 million (U.S.).

The scheme, presented to a committee of local planning experts and scholars in mid- June, proposes a series of five, overlapping pedestrian-friendly residential neighbourhoods with distinct “socially and economically sustainable” central core areas of shops, restaurants, schools, parkland and recreational facilities.

The community has been conceptually designed to “marry harmoniously the rich cultural and artistic heritage” of the old canal town of Fengjing with modern Canadian community planning principles promoting sustainability—socially, economically and environmentally.

The Canadian team includes the landscape architecture firms of Corban & Goode and EDA Collaborative Inc. The phase one conceptual master landscape design plan is to be completed by mid-September. Conceptual design principles were developed by a six-person Canadian team of architects and landscape architects.

In a statement, Six Degrees said the most public neighbourhood in its proposed scheme is the central administrative and commercial area, where two major themed access routes meet to showcase artists from Canada and Fengjing. A Canadian maple tree-lined “East to West” landscapethemed pedestrian mall traverses westerly from the proposed new light-rail transit station to the central core of the community where it intersects with the main “100 Lantern” themed gateway road from the old town.

At the centre of Fengjing New Town, the extensive community canals meet and are widened to form a lake with a series of landmark buildings surrounding the waterfront.

These buildings include a new city hall, cultural centre, art gallery and museum, convention centre, central library, recreational arena and a five-star hotel.

“Being chosen to incorporate the best of modern Canadian planning and sustainable design principles with the ancient wisdom of Chinese spatial relationships is an honour and challenge that inspires our team,” said Six Degrees founder and principal Lisa Bate.

In an interview, Bate said her firm has completed the conceptual design of all of the key buildings in the central civic district. Design development work is to get under way this fall. Working drawings will be prepared by a design institute in China.

“It’s like setting up an Oakville, or a Brampton or an Ajax,” she said of the assignment. During the detailed design phase, Six Degrees hopes to incorporate Canadian building materials—such as cedar decking and reclaimed steel—into the project as well as energy-efficient technologies.

“The client, the Shanghai New Fengjing Development Construction Co. Ltd., is very accepting of the thought of shipping over Canadian products,” Bate said.

Her firm previously won international competitions for an eco-city design for Jiangxi Yichun and for a transportation terminal in Hunan.

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