From Metropolitan Axis to Localizing Grid

Project Description

In central Beijing, the historic Axis serves as a potent, symbolic connector of the city’s history and culture.  In southern Beijing, however, it is instead an obstacle.  Sixteen lanes of traffic make what should be a celebrated zone into little more than a highway - its overwhelming scale must be dealt with in order for any kind of future development to be successful.  This project proposes to first reduce the size of the Axis road on our site, redistributing its traffic onto several new north-south avenues between the Second and Third Ring Roads.  These are crossed by a number of east-west roads that restructure the urban form.  Together, this grid system extends the influence of the Axis across the site, connecting it to landmarks such as the new rail station. 

Based on an analysis of existing programs in the area, this proposal focuses on three main zones of use, each organized around an open space arranged perpendicularly to the Axis: a business district to the north, a hospital/wellness campus, and a live/work/retail village on the old site of the Bairong Mall.  Although the three respond to different functional requirements, they each contain a mixture of commercial, residential, and institutional space.   The grid provides a framework for new typologies of development units, ranging from traditional Chinese courtyard residences to podiums and high rise towers.  In this way, the introduction of a grid system allows streets to be connective rather than divisive, localizing the urban energy of the Axis.