SOM's ECO gateway district to Beijing
By Becca Durrant24 February 2010
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's (SOM) Chicago and China offices have combined to design an urban model showcasing integrated solutions for energy, water conservation and transit systems in Beijing's Dawangjing District.
The Beijing Chaoyang District Planning Bureau is the client for the proposed district, which would be situated about 11 km from the Beijing Capital International Airport and act as a new gateway for the City.
SOM's Plan, which won an international competition to guide Wangjing's redevelopment, uses a Central Park as a sustainable "engine" that would passively heat and cool the district.
In response to "the pressing demand to reduce carbon emissions and protect natural resources", SOM's plan calls for a new Central Park as a "resource for geo-thermal exchange".
It proposes to passively heat and cool many of the new district's buildings, reducing the need for water-consuming cooling towers. The park would anchor the surrounding high-density, mixed-use development, including a cluster of office and residential towers.
The plan sets a goal for 80% of resident and worker journeys to be made by public transit, bicycle, or walking. Transit stations are proposed on the M15 subway line to enable quick and convenient access to the airport, while a comprehensive network of bicycle lanes would reduce traffic and congestion.
Additionally, a streetcar network is proposed to eventually link all districts together.
Designed to support up to 1.5 million m2 of potential future development, SOM's Dawangjing District master plan would be built in phases and provide a "vibrant, mixed-use hub" for the Wangjing District, which is currently composed of high-density residential projects with little commercial support.