City of Pingyao
The medieval town of Pingyao, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site, is in need of restoration. The workshop has produced an urbanism and landscape study for the city that allows the harmonious linking of new urban developments to the historical city. Crucially, the historical analysis carried out as part of this study, reveals the existence of two fortresses from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) that we urge the city to protect. The proposed urban design prioritises urban density, historical continuity, reasonable spatial scales, the creation of spaces that enhance the value of the fortified city, and the creation of public spaces that cater for everyone in society.
The architectural portion of this project seeks a contemporary architecture style, making use of local materials whose essence is in continuity with the traditions of Shanxi Province. The landscape design follows a simple concept which rejects the principle of an urban park in favour of an organic structure, using native species including various grasses that reduce management and water requirements. The infrastructure for visitors incorporates natural and cultural elements, aiming to restructure the city and reinforce its pedestrianized areas.
During the construction of the project, the workshop continuously followed a sustainable approach, working to create public spaces that preserve the human scale of the old city. One of the main objectives was to return the city back to its inhabitants and to encourage the reinvigoration of its economy.
The project includes the following features:
• Emphasis of the ancient city and its surrounding landscape of 100 ha
• New multifunctional infrastructures to relieve the ancient city from real estate pressures (accommodation, museums, services, cafés and bars)
• Redevelopment of the first urban ring as a buffer between the old and the new city.
• Renovation and protection of the Ming dynasty fortresses along with the architectural heritage outside the city walls.
• Planning of the new South and West city districts (41 ha planning area, 230,000 m² floor area).