Bei Bei is located in the eastern Sichuan Basin in the city province Chongqing on the Jialing Jang River. Due to its peculiar topography, only a part of the entire area is available for settlement. Bei Bei district is located in a valley between two long hills obstructing an easy connection with the municipality of Chongqing to the East and making this urban development an independent city planning. We were asked to propose a residential urban planning for four large areas located to the South-East side of a long hill range at the western edge of Beibei’s new district.
The design scope required an innovative approach to urban planning that focused on modern living in harmony with nature, set to become a model for future developments in the area. Despite the different conditions of each plot in terms of topography and vicinity to infrastructure, we identified a common strategy and a set of design principles to be tailored around each site’s requirements.
The urban planning strategy focuses on the following principles. Compact and diverse residential area: effective use of the soil and diverse functions to promote vibrant residential areas. Multi-functional buildings: achieve flexibility and diversity of functions to meet and integrate the needs of modern urban life. Large space and low costs: offer individual style to meet the needs of all target groups for a high-quality space. Public space: propose a numerous shared areas and public green space in order to reinforce social habits and create a harmonious neighborhood. Participation in the design process: involve the future residents in the design in order to adapt the apartments perfectly to those residents and to avoid a monotonous apartment arrangement.
The natural environment has a very strong presence in each plot and it is therefore seen as a resource to preserve other than an obstacle to overcome. The integration with the terrain conditions and the landscape becomes the priority in order to increase the quality of life of the future tenants. A clear road network with slow traffic, safe walkways and public green spaces are the foundation of each development.
The high living and working standards required by the project are met through the development of leisure activities in the mountain landscape, paying attention to flood protection and disaster prevention, enforcing low building density, natural ventilation and lighting of the residential units.
Where the terrain conditions were particularly extreme, the residences are located along the urban roads that strictly follow the slopes of the hills. Here, we propose low density, modular terraced house typology which design is left open to the customization of the future residents.
With the natural course of the Jinyun River, artificial rainwater collection ponds located in the center of the urban development, enrich the landscape of the valley allowing every house to have a view.
Despite the necessity of numerous multi-level residential buildings, we managed to create a sense of rural mountain community through the careful placement of the units along the slopes of the hills and the natural lakes. The residential blocks are never too close to each other, always surrounded by lush vegetation that helps preserving the privacy and with the sun shading.
Beibei, Chongqing, China
25.5 ha, 12.2 ha, 36 ha, 30.6 ha