Year: 2012
Size: 2,000 ha
Type: research
Location: Jianshi, Hubei, China

Partners in charge: Federico Ruberto, Nicola Saladino

External collaborator: Design and Research Institute of Hunan University

This project is the result of a collaboration with the Design and Research Institute of Hunan University. The Institute had been working for several months on the masterplan of Jianshi, a small city located in a mountainous area of the Hubei province. Our task was to analyse and assess the potentials and weaknesses of the existing proposal and provide possible alternatives. The city is planned to expand from 50.000 to 200.000 inhabitants in the next 10 years, practically occupying the totality of the available flat land that is currently used for agricultural production. As a result of such expansion the economy of the city is also meant to evolve from primary to secondary and tertiary industry, generating an important and potentially violent rupture with its traditional identity.

Although the infrastructure and the urban fabric are carefully designed, taking into consideration the particular morphology of the terrain, and the functional distribution avoids most of the typical problems related to mono-functional zoning, the original masterplan seems to lack a clear phasing strategy and does not take full advantage of the potentials of the natural context. Thus we elaborate a scheme that is in-formed by the materiality of the site, constituting an energetic material assemblage that can build-up a dialogue between the topography, the soil and the hydrology of the site on the one hand and the functionality and quality of the urban space on the other. We propose a system of synergies in which the urban fabric is spatially and symbiotically articulated over the natural environment, actively enhancing its potentials. Within an integrated system of green corridors, the productive landscape then becomes an important element of the public space. Analysing the quality and productivity of the landscape, we are able to create a sequence of spatial transformations that preserves the most valuable natural elements and allows a smoother transition from the rural to the new urban economy.

In terms of design process, we divided our research in two branches, natural and artificial, which are then re-described as a single system of qualities, quantities and performances - i.e. intensities. Through the indexing of the site (for a deeper understanding of the term and methodology, please refer to the academic section of the site) we generate maps and diagrams that are the graphic translation of specific systems of relations. The quantity and qualities extracted from the analysis of different layers are then dissected and recombined to produce a more comprehensive and holistic knowledge of the territory. The soil productivity is evaluated through the combination of: slope analysis, accessibility and developable areas; water run-off, possible water collection systems and potential hazards; soil quality and solar radiation levels. The configuration of the green corridors is then mediated by the existing vegetation, the main infrastructure and a logic of spatial sequences related to the public space. Finally the road network is punctually redesigned in order to generate loops that allow an easier implementation of the public transportation system.

这个项目是reMIX临界工作室与湖南大学设计研究院合作设计。建始县是湖北省山区的一座小型城市,当时设计院已经在该城市总体规划上投入了几个月的时间。我们在该项目中负责分析和评估现有方案的潜力以及薄弱环节,并提出改进的可能性。在接下来的十年里,建始县人口将由如今的5万增长至20万,若维持现有的城市密度, 城市化将会吞噬掉现有平坦区域上的耕地。随着人口增长,城市经济发展目标也将由第一产业向第二、第三产业转移,建始县也将不可避免的面临与传统特征割裂的局面。