OMA to design Future Science and Technology City in Chengdu, China

As part of the 4.6-sq-km masterplan in Chengdu, Sichuan, OMA will design an International Educational Park, while GMP will develop a Transit Oriented Development.

by Shreeparna ChatterjeePublished on : Feb 11, 2021

Dutch architectural firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and Hamburg-based Gerkan, Marg and Partners (GMP) were recently announced as the winners of the Chengdu Future Science and Technology City Launch Area Masterplan and Architecture Design Competition.

As part of the first phase of the 4.6-sq-km-long masterplan, OMA will develop an International Education Park in the west while GMP will build a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the southeast. Local architects CAUPD and Swooding will also collaborate on the masterplan.

This pilot project is part of the innovation industry driving the development of the city around the new airport east of Chengdu in Sichuan province of China.

The masterplan includes an International Education Park and Transit Oriented Development | Chengdu Future City Masterplan | OMA | STIRworld
The masterplan includes an International Education Park and Transit Oriented Development Image: Courtesy of OMA

The masterplan will be in a space which is characterised by green hills and follows the site’s topography and spatial structure. The International Education Park, to span over 460,000 sqm, will include education programmes for multiple universities, dormitories, public programme, national laboratories and innovation offices. Talking about the different sections of the masterplan, OMA partner Chris van Duijn says, “Inspired by the Lin Pan villages in Chengdu—traditional rural settlements that practice small scale farming and deploy ancient irrigation systems—the masterplan will be divided into six clusters, each highlighting a specific architectural typology defined by its program, as well as its relationship with the topography and local water systems”.  

The buildings under this masterplan will have landscaped terraces and are imagined to become almost an extension of the natural landform of the site.

The different clusters of the Chengdu Future Science and Technology City Launch Area Masterplan | Chengdu Future City Masterplan | OMA | STIRworld
The different clusters of the Chengdu Future Science and Technology City Launch Area Masterplan Image: Courtesy of OMA

The centre of the campus will be formed by a valley and also include a landmark complex building. The valley will act as the connect between the International Education Park and the Futian metro station as well as the Aviation College in the northwest. This 80,000 sqm building will be the heart of academic life with a university library, student centre, auditoriums, laboratories and offices. “With this project, we hope to provide an alternative to the typical masterplan, which is based on the traditional car-oriented road network. We intend to create a design rooted in the geography of the site. We hope that connection between architecture and landscape will result in a dynamic environment for education that will inspire innovative ideas,” mentions van Duijn while commenting on the marked difference of this masterplan.

Bird’s eye view of the International Education Park | Chengdu Future City Masterplan | OMA | STIRworld
Bird’s eye view of the International Education Park Image: Courtesy of OMA

The six different clusters that form the masterplan are - the living cluster, university, laboratory, the public, market and the government cluster. Each of the clusters will have elements of design that bring out the character of the particular space and its purpose, including the way energy will be harnessed for each of the clusters. The public cluster in particular performs an important role within the masterplan, as mentioned by van Duijn, “The public cluster will be a Transport Oriented Development (TOD) with public spaces and support research, exhibition and production program. It will reinforce the identity of the masterplan by integrating nature and architecture: an existing water basin will be built into a science and technology park”.

The International Education Park will include dorms, labs and innovation offices | Chengdu Future City Masterplan | OMA | STIRworld
The International Education Park will include dorms, labs, and innovation offices Image: Courtesy of OMA

All of the clusters will be car free and have been scaled to ensure that all places are accessible within a 10-minute distance of each other. They will be connected with the train station and surrounding urban developments via a “smart mobility network” of automated vehicles.

Project Details

Name: Chengdu Future Science and Technology City Launch Area Masterplan & Architecture Design
Client: The Reform and Planning Administration Bureau of Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
Location: Chengdu Future Science and Technology City Launch Area, adjacent to Tianfu International Airport, China
Program: Masterplan, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
Partner in Charge: Chris van Duijn
Associate: Ravi Kamisetti
Project Architect: John Thurtle
Team: Anthony Ko, Charlotte Chan, Connor Sullivan, Giuseppe Bandieramonte, Joanna Gu, Meng Huang, Napat Kiat-Arpadej, Yangqi Yang

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