Henning Larsen's Pujiang New Town Civic Center wants to be a petri dish for sustainability concepts
By Josh Niland|
Friday, Dec 17, 2021
Henning Larsen has been tapped by a local development committee for a new Pujiang International Conference Center in China that it says offers ten separate design strategies leading to a user-centric showcase in sustainability.
The Danish firm was selected as one of the winning architects from a shortlist of four other finalists, including Zaha Hadid Architects and MVRDV, to design the civic center, which will introduce a massive new multi-use zone into a previously undeveloped area between Pujiang New Town and the southeast shore of Guangding Lake.
Henning Larsen’s design director says it is “part of Chinese culture and Pujiang culture” and that he feels “the success of this new city depends on such urban initiatives.”
The region is one of several spread throughout the country that has seen a steady urbanization since the end of the 20th century.
The new development aims to raise awareness within the community about sustainability with a sloping circular design the firm says is a unique platform that highlights the potential of zero-carbon living. Centered by an educational park that offers users an in-depth view of the region’s ecology, the main conference center structure is thus surrounded by a program of small and mid-sized buildings in addition to streetscapes which provide a relief from the urban heat island effect.
The development also includes a series of pre-set goals which include both zero-carbon emissions and zero-water consumption. This offers a demarcation somewhat from other large-scale developments in the country, which have been criticized for their overall lack of restraint in pushing projects typically tied to market-driven incentives.
“Attaining sustainability is not merely based on tracking carbon emission measurements but also relies on a holistic, viable integrated design that has a continuous and reliable operation,” the firm’s brief reads finally.
“The foundation of this viable sustainable design does not rest on expensive technical measures—fundamentally it is about the creation of affordable and efficient sustainable buildings. We hope to start a new chapter of sustainability for Pujiang through this project, paving the way for a vibrant Pujiang through zero carbon living.”
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