UNESCO Site – Urban planning and south fortresses protection plan

  • Client:

    City of Pingyao

  • When:


  • Where:

    Pingyao, China

  • Scope:


  • Size:

    100 Ha

  • Cost:


Pingyao is a medieval city located in Shanxi Province. The city received UNESCO world heritage status due its particular features, namely its size of 3 li x 3 li (approx. 1500m x 1500m), its fortifications and its architectural heritage.
The Pingyao Government contracted NICOLAS GODELET Architects & Engineers (NG-Lab) together with ETM and FCD to work on the urban design and landscaping along the city wall and also the architecture of the main square.

In developing the protection plan for the South fortresses the office focused on the link between past and future development, between nature and the city, in order to enhance the qualities of the local culture and environment, and to promote a new dynamism for the local economy.

We determined that the most sustainable approach was to focus on the creation of public spaces which preserve the human scale of this historical site and give the city back to its inhabitants.

This 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).
• Development of a reception centre with several functions including information centre, exhibition space, rest area, bathrooms, ticket office and an electric car terminal providing transport to the old city. The architecture for this centre follows a modern interpretation of traditional architecture.