Nanchong is a diverse and multi-faceted city. Historical heritage, traditional culture and architecture are preserved in several sites all over the old city perimeter, while new development and modern constructions are expanding and now occupy the vast majority of Nanchong city. AVIC Ecological Town is located along Nanchong River on the northeast side of the city. Due to its location and connections to major transportation arteries, the site is extremely valuable for its residential functional destination.
From the start, our main concerns as urban planners from the start were about how to maintain the diversity of the city while preserving its natural qualities and how to transform former agricultural land into a prime new residential location in Nanchong.
The site is divided into nine sub-plots with a variety of land-use destinations. Despite having an assigned land-use destination by the brief, the relationship between the sub-plots was not clearly defined. In order to link the plots we propose an “active avenue” along the central longitudinal axis and a North-South green belt that joins the avenue in the commercial core of the site. The Urban Avenue and the Green Belt are the backbone of AVIC Ecological Town, unifying the diverse functions and providing extraordinary quality public space to the development.
The Urban Avenue is a mostly pedestrian axis that activates commercial facilitates and urban life. Car parking is mostly underground and the avenue is closed to vehicular traffic, encouraging alternative mobility. Urban plazas and multiple pocket gardens punctuate the avenue and are linked by a network of bike lanes.
The Urban Avenue and the Green Belt join in the center of the development, where the brief locates the commercial heart in correspondence of four corner plots each one identified by a specific commercial function: Office, Hotel, Service Apartments and SOHO. In order to create a relationship between the four plots, our design strategy is to open up the facades of each building towards the park and maximize the ground floor accessibility from all directions though a generous entry plaza in front of each tower.
Despite being all different, the four towers have a similar design approach for the overall layout and facade design. Our strategy is to propose a system flexible enough that can be easily repeated and that can accommodate the diverse range of functions required. The standard column grid gives enough flexibility to be adapted to all the required program with minimal changes.
Slight variations of the facade for each function give a different facade pattern on the street side, designed to better express their program. Through strategic cuts, we shape the towers to create green balconies that vertically extend the park into the upper levels of the buildings and provide views to the park.
Nanchong, Sichuan, China