The design of the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) and KCAP Architects & Planners, in cooperation with landscape architects Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, was awarded first prize in the competition for Zhangjiang Science and Technology City in Shanghai. The international team was able to prevail against two other competitors. For gmp and KCAP, this is the second successful cooperative effort, having already jointly developed the urban masterplan for Hamburg’s OlympiaCity.
Zhangjiang Science and Technology City is located in Pudong, Shanghai’s prosperous district to the east of the city, strategically placed between the city center and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The extension and urban development of this area forms part of the overarching national strategy aimed at sustainably strengthening research and development, rather than purely industrial production. In this context it is intended to create China’s largest and most important science city on a site of about 84 square kilometers – a pilot project serving as a national example. The size of the project area exceeds that of Manhattan or of Lingang New City to the south-east, which is currently under construction.
The significant location factor of prosperous high-tech developments – such as at Silicon Valley, New York or elsewhere – is the formation of clusters, where interdisciplinary exchange and local networking can take place. The importance of physical proximity in explicitly urban environments that fosters direct encounters remains significant, even in times of a globally networked economy – ideas sometimes cross corridors and roads more easily than continents and oceans.
For this reason, the designers adopted the strategy of creating a “living university” – a constellation of clusters around the existing and future high-tech institutions (industries, universities and technology clusters) in combination with attractive housing and cultural, sports, and educational facilities. At a physical level, this is continued with the definition of clearly contoured roads and landscaping. The design creates a comprehensive framework by utilizing the existing structures that have already been developed in the area to varying degrees, and integrating waterways, landscaping and a dense network of public transport systems, and embedding attractive living environments in mixed-function urban parcels that form fertile ground for sustainable urban development. In this way, this concept articulates a succinct antidote to an undistinguished urban sprawl, creating a network of high-density urban clusters that benefit from the attraction of urban centers, and also radiate outwards.
As part of the cooperative effort, KCAP took responsibility for the overall strategic urban masterplan. This was designed for robust growth in accordance with the large scale and heterogeneous existing structures, allowing for long-term development and the dynamic nature of the area. Based on this plan, gmp has designed more detailed masterplans for three key areas including the main center of the Science City, referred to as the Public Center. The design partner for the integrated landscape and environmental technology design was Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl.