We have been asked to design the public space landscape features for a mixed-use development in Xi’an. The site is located not far from the ancient city walls, between the South second ring road, Yonghui business circle and Gaoxin business circle. Line 3 Metro Stop is only 500 m away from the main entrance to the plot on Keji Road, one of the major traffic arteries of the city. The site is accessible from only two relatively narrow entries between the high rise mixed-use buildings that almost entirely conceal the commercial area to the passers-by and that were already built during the time of the design. The biggest challenge for this project was finding a strategy to attract people into the inner courtyard and ease the sense of oppression in such a high density development.
The inspiration for the design comes from the concept of ‘tension’ and ‘relaxation’ that we can find in Zen philosophy. Straight lines are for the tension represented by the flow of people going towards a destination; circles are instead surrounding the attractive areas of the plot as to enhance the sense of peace and relaxation of the visitors as they reach their destination.
The site contains a complex network of spaces which vary greatly in terms of size and surrounding existing typologies and buildings scale. This spatial diversity generates different ways to experience the space: in fact from large open spaces, visitors often flow through narrow commercial streets winding in between low rise buildings.
Our strategy is to arrange the attractive elements of design in the areas of main visibility enhanced by the circular paving. From here, visitors can continue their shopping journey to the next attractive point located in line of sight.
In the central area of the plot, where the commercial units are distributed on two rows along the East-West axis, we decided to create a more intimate atmosphere for the shoppers. Here, along the central corridor between the shops, a shallow water stream protected by the shade of the trees leads the way to the site’s East entrance.
For the hard paving we chose elegant granite stone tiles in which the slightly different shades of grey determine the main waling directions for the pedestrians.
Glorious Plaza Group
Concept Design / Schematic Design / Design Development / Construction