Bjarke Ingels Group envisions AI CITY for Terminus Group in Chongqing, China

Echoing Terminus’s tech spirit, AI CITY masterplan with Cloud Valley and its wavy green roofscape is imagined as a city where people, nature and artificial intelligence thrive.

by Jincy Iype Published on : Oct 01, 2020

Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed plans of AI CITY, the future home for global tech smart service company Terminus Group in 'mountain city' Chongqing, in southwest China. Led by Bjarke Ingels, BIG imagines the high tech campus as the new centre of innovation for the country, committed to and outlining Terminus's ambitions in the field of leveraging AIoT (artificial intelligence and Internet of Things) technology, including robotics, networking and big data, providing smart city solutions.

  • Aerial view of AI CITY's Cloud Valley | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Aerial view of AI CITY's Cloud Valley Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Aerial view of the undulating building at night | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Aerial view of the undulating building at night Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group

Chongqing is an expansive megacity informed by intersecting rivers and a stunning interplay of mountains and valleys. The design team at Bjarke Ingels Group shares that they endeavoured to mimic this essence in the design proposal. "Below the clouds and between the mountains, AI CITY is where Terminus and the world’s leading tech companies aim to advance the future of artificial intelligence and robotics, and build the foundations of a new sustainable development," shares BIG.

  • Cloud Valley Plaza | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Cloud Valley Plaza Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Digital Plaza | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Digital Plaza Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Visualisation of the Tech Park in the future city | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Visualisation of the Tech Park in the future city Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group

The renders reveal the 34,000 sqm Cloud Valley, the first phase of the AI CITY masterplan, located within the Chongqing Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone. Cloud Valley’s undulating conceptual design draws from the natural Wulong Karst in the Chongqing Wulong National Park, where mountains and valleys sit in poignancy, linking the earth and the skies above. The drawing board project is conceived as two plots along Xinshou Avenue and Gaoxin Avenue that mimic each other’s opposites. A grid layout is imagined for the entire site (spread over 1,35,000 sqm), knitting together the parking basement, landscape, buildings with office and retail areas blanketed under a green roof and a new, visible layer of artificial intelligence, which will connect the built, natural and future technology as one.

AI CITY concept | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
AI CITY concept Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

Because of building restrictions from a nearby military airport, the two plots (one bulging and the other concave) are bounded by a maximum height limit. “By only raising the outer facade line to its maximum height and keeping the central space closer to a level, the buildings are adapted to the human scale in the shape of a valley,” shares the design team.

In AI CITY, Cloud Valley is envisioned as a city where people, technology, and nature thrive together – with spaces designed for all types of life - human life, plant life, animal life, and even artificial life. – Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Partner, Bjarke Ingels Group
Conceptual development | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
Conceptual development Image: Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

The softly risen 'mountain' part of Cloud Valley becomes a striking landmark in the area that shelters the protected network of courtyards housing public activities. Expressed as a gentle dip, the 'valley' unit hosts large accessible green rooftops for open air events. Below this green roof blanket sit AI exhibition spaces, markets and cafés, opening up this area to the surrounding and inviting visitors into the Cloud Valley, where professionals and robots work in synergy, developing innovative technologies and activities. The vision also includes e-bikes, robotic vehicles and self-driving cars that make up the fresh, smart mobility system of the campus amid verdant plantations.

  • Multiple courtyards are formed in Cloud Valley | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Multiple courtyards are formed in Cloud Valley Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Cultural Courtyard | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Cultural Courtyard Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG removes barriers between the built and the natural, between human and artificial intelligence in the Cloud Valley by designing it as a porous urban fabric, strewn with generous courtyards flooded with natural light and ventilation. Each courtyard is designed to host specific public activities such as sports, art exhibitions and product fairs in the technological park that spreads between the built structures. The floor plates of the tech park are shallow, since it mainly comprises office areas, which ensure ample daylight as well as maximum views and immediate access to nature, creating a healthy, improved working environment. The Terminus headquarters is located in the south west corner of the site while the Robot Museum rests on the opposite end. The buildings to the north consist of office spaces, with retail areas spread across the two lower floors.

  • Inside the structure | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Inside the structure Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Robot Museum | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Robot Museum Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group

AI CITY’s unique location between the Chongqing mountains welcomes interestingly striking cloud formations that shield Cloud Valley from the sun’s direct exposure, and forms a special atmosphere that renders the façade to look more transparent. The rooftops are also extended to a degree (according to the building’s orientation) so that the facades are further protected from heavy rain, and excessive solar heat. The distinct roof also slopes down into the central courtyard at one place, creating access to the roof gardens while in two other corners, the roof lifts up to create entrances from the inside. The green roof also functions as an intended landscape preserve within the tech city, co-exisiting with the office programme spaces. “To display the ultimate gesture of nature meeting technology, the green roof carpet shaping the valley and the mountain turns into the largest digital display in China at night,” informs design team at Bjarke Ingels Group.

  • The extended roof | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    The extended roof Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Inside the AI CITY campus | AI CITY by Bjarke Ingels Group | STIRworld
    Inside the AI CITY campus Image: Courtesy of LucianR, Bjarke Ingels Group

Project Details

Name: AI CITY
Location: Chongqing, China
Area: 1,35,000 sqm
Program: Commercial
Status: In Progress
Project type: Commission>
Client: Terminus Group
Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group
Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Jakob Lange, Ole Elkjær Larsen
Project Leaders: Per Bo Madsen, Nanna Gyldeholm Møller, Dominic James Black, Gabrielle Nadeau, Dora Jiabao Lin, Enea Michelesio
Project Team: Biqin Li, Yara Rahme, Natchaluck Radomsittipat, Ipek Akin, Linnea Lujak, Laura Wätte, Peter Mortensen, Sergiu Calacean, Mattia Di Carlo, Høgni Laksafoss, Jan Magasanik, Eddie Can, Annette Jensen, Mussa Algasra, Marcela Dominika Rydalska, Laurent De Carniere, Cheng-Huang Lin, Nandi Lu, Henrik Jacobsen, Seda Yildiz, Lucas Coelho Netto, Marah Wagner, Vladislav Saprunenko, Jean-Sébastien Pagnon, Dimitrie Grigorescu, Alexander Matthias Jacobson, Kamila Abbiazova, Katrine Juul, Ella Murphy, Tore Banke, Cristian Teodor Fratila, Frederic Lucien Engasser, Ulla Hornsyld, Paul Johann Kohlhaussen, Eric Li, Erik Kreider, Karolina Lepa-Stewart, Tristan Harvey, Miles Treacy, Timo Harboe Nielsen, Andy Coward, Qingfeng Li, Milan Moldenhawer, Mamak Mazaheri, Daniel Ferrara Bilesky, Jesper Petersen
Collaborators: LDI – Huiting, Green Building Consultant – CMCU,  Facade consultant – Forster, Structure Consultant - BIG E

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