Located near Songzhuang, a quiet village on the outskirts of Beijing, a unique opportunity exists to create a new urban district dedicated entirely to the cultivation of new ideas. The National Creative Cluster (NCC) is envisioned as China’s preeminent knowledge hub, making the district a center for the country’s innovative home-grown talent and a destination for the world’s most creative thinkers. Sasaki’s master plan for NCC—selected in May 2012 as the preferred scheme for implementation—focuses on principles that underscore and support the overarching philosophy of the district: to bring industries with shared values and complementary skills and technologies together to help spark new ideas.
Acting as an incubator, the success of the district is tied to its openness, where people can interact in both structured and spontaneous ways to exchange ideas and have constructive dialogue. To attract a talented workforce, NCC will also provide institutes for continuing education, museums and galleries for inspiration, entertainment venues to encourage social interaction, and bold landscapes to help recharge the mind, body, and spirit. The district’s diversity of industry, people, and spatial relationships are aimed to foster creativity and encourage an endless stream of new ideas.
Sasaki’s master plan integrates the urban form with the surrounding landscape by creating a series of green wedges, interspersed within the urban clusters and forming a series of community parks. The landscape is both beautiful and functional—it encourages biodiversity, filters stormwater, and provides seasonal interest and color. The landscape also forms a strong connection between humans and nature, which fuels innovation and creativity. A new transit loop is also a key element of the plan, and establishes a connection between the hubs of NCC to the existing core of the Songzhaung Artists Village to enhance the movement of both people and ideas.Location: Beijing, China Architect: Sasaki Associates Project name: The National Creative Cluster Client name: Hengtian Hi-Tech Investment and Development Co., Ltd.
Completion date: Master Plan completed April 2012 Size: 357 hectares Services:
Planning and urban design
Principal-in-charge: Michael Grove
Lead Urban Designer / Project Manager: Martin Zogran
Participating Principals: Isabel Zempel, Dennis Pieprz
Urban Designer/Landscape Architect: Ming-Jen Hsueh
Urban Designers: Youngju Cho, Hsing-Chih Lee
Landscape Architects: Ponnapa Prakkamkul, Steve Walz
Landscape Ecologist: Anthony Fettes
Transportation Planner: Andy McClurg
Architect: Pablo Nistal
Graphic Designers: Jeff Sprague, Neda Movaghar Sustainable features:
Innovative stormwater management
Alternative energy generation Photos: Sasaki Associates