by Weili ZhangSep 20, 2021
Foster + Partners announced the winning proposal for a new masterplan that seeks to create a new urban destination in China, the Guangming Hub, located on the high-speed rail link connecting the cities of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou in China. The new Transport Oriented Development became an opportunity for the firm to harness latest technological tools to create an urban centre with an integrated and sustainable transport hub, attracting the surrounding neighbourhoods into its generously landscaped newly-formed centre.
In order for the team to generate the most optimal masterplan and work out the ideal urban massing, a set of key constraints were developed, which took in consideration the factors leading to urban growth in the region. Those were later fed into a software programme, specially created by the practice, which then created the masterplan. The masterplan then underwent further changes by the team enhancing Guangming Hub as the focal point. This led to the creation of a smart city supporting the flow of people and goods with robust infrastructure, effective transport networks, and reliable public services.
Due to the intersection of two major rail links and the challenging topographical features of the region, which impose a barrier to movement throughout the site, the masterplan creates a traffic network of slow-moving autonomous vehicles providing efficient and easy connection to the Hub. These will then become a network with skybridges and shared surfaces for cyclists and pedestrians to ensure better accessibility throughout the whole masterplan.
The scheme encompasses easy wayfinding, minimum walking distances and shaded walkways. It works with the existing high-speed rail station in the north-south direction, whereas in the east-west orientation a new sunken green spine cuts across the site and meets the high-speed rail station at the ground level. A new intercity link station is located further west of the high-speed rail station, which connects the Guangming Hub to the city.
A large commercial podium, characterised by stepped green terraces, is located on the top of the underground metro system and intercity link stations, providing a connection to the surrounding forest. Taking inspiration from the traditional Chinese gateway that marks important entryways, the Hub accommodates a series of office towers that act as ‘gateways’ to the Hub itself as they provide openings at the ground level to mark central access to the high-speed rail station. An additional feature of the scheme is the new transport museum that will house futuristic exhibition displays using VR, AR and projection mapping technologies.
“The central idea is to capitalise on the natural beauty of the site, utilising the lush landscape to create a lively experience for visitors and locals. It will be a forest gateway into Shenzhen,” said Young Wei-Yang Chiu, Partner at Foster + Partners.
The masterplan takes full advantage of its generous landscape areas, thus employing them as a means of providing enjoyable outdoor spaces for pedestrians and visitors. Along with the controlled wind and solar access, the design also falls in line with the city’s Sponge City programme, which places an emphasis on the integration of landscape, permeable features and bio-retention water features for the use of urban drainage systems.