GDW’s Concept For DecoCity, Chengdu, China
GDW has recently completed a concept for DecoCity, a new urban development on the outskirts of Chengdu, China.
The client desired a city that was Art Deco in both architecture and lifestyle. We took this idea to heart, and created a plan based on the Art Deco theme of the rising sun, an apt metaphor for this new city, for Chengdu, and, most definitely, for China as a whole. Further, the rising sun provides the backbone for a city that offers an exceptional quality of life.
Our concept is based on the following principles:
Quality of Life
A place people want to live, work and play
Active Central Place
Successful shops and restaurants
Well loved parks
Surrounded by area of highest density
The city’s heart, the place where people gather
Parks and Gathering Places
Central Icon and plaza in the town center
Amphitheater for public events
“Bryant Park” with dining, public green and multi-use place
Small, neighborhood parks accessible places for a few quite moments, places for children to play, friends to meet
Nature areas made active by:
Open spaces and areas for exercise
Carousel and places for children
Large sports park with a variety of large and small sports facilities
Open space to be enjoyed by all
Pedestrian and vehicle spokes that allow easy access to the city center
Radial canals and walk streets create pleasant places to walk, and easy access to the river and sports area for all
Unique qualities that help people identify with a place and make them proud to call it their home
Singular architectural vocabulary expressing a strong identity
City plan reflective of that identity
Easily understood layout
Carefully considered massing offering a distinct and memorable skyline
Cohesive building massing contributing both to the overall massing and architectural identity
Unique landscaping that reflects and extends the architectural language
GDW’s Two Primary (and surprising) Goals for a Sustainable City:
GDW’s plan for a new city outside of Chengdu, China
The two primary goals for a truly sustainable city are, without question, quality lifestyle and identity. Why? When one puts political agendas aside, it is obvious that the single largest commitment of environmental resources required of a city is the construction of the city itself. A city that is loved, that people enjoy living in and are proud to call home is a city that will remain intact for generations.
Ironically, cities and the structures they are made of are typically awarded sustainability points for the ease of which they can be recycled. We believe that this is a fallacy. We wonder why a well designed city should have reason to be recycled. Searching the annals of history, we are aware of no city that provided quality of life, no city that made its residents proud, that was subsequently subjected to the rigors of recycling. Not, in any event, without the help of an invading enemy army!
This is not to say that we reject all the principles of sustainable city design. We simply find most redundant. Why is it necessary, for example, to award points based on transport? Moving people easily, effectively and pleasantly through a city has always been a major goal for planners (except, perhaps, during medieval times, when it was a greater concern to make it difficult for invaders to navigate city streets then for residents to easily move around).
A city that forces its residents to remain immobile or sit in traffic is not a city that provides quality of life. A city that makes circulation pleasant does, however, provide an enviable lifestyle. Should not the desire to create pleasant strolls and easy commutes be of paramount priority for the urban planner? Is not the process of awarding points for public transport directed more specifically to special interest lobbies than to those who will call a city their home?
We reject the notion of designing based on checklists created by academia and special interests. We favor cities designed for people. We reject the notion that people will work to preserve their city because of the ease of which it can be recycled. Instead, we seek to create places that capture the hearts of inhabitants.
A people proud of a city will maintain and preserve it, making sure the precious natural resources invested in its creation will benefit generations to come.
We recently presented this project for a retail and mixed-use center in Shenfu, Shenyang, China.
GlobalDesign’s Concept Design and Paster Plan for Rose Valley, Chengdu, China
Video Coming Soon
Tanggu Swan, Tanggu, China by GlobalDesign Workshop
3 Modern Realities and the Design Process
Quality design requires an effective, efficient and expressive design process, a consistently catalytic and inventive methodology. While I have continually evolved my process throughout my career, three significant and relatively new realities in the way I, and many other architects, work have combined forces to generate a highly effective process. I am excited about the results this process generates and the creativity it foments. More important is the freedom it grants us to explore and develop ever more innovative solutions.
So what are these three realities? Below is an .
It is hardly news that the computer has significantly affected the way architects work, the way we design and the buildings we build. It is certainly not new to use the software tools to illustrate and document our designs, or even to develop our ideas. We are, however, increasingly using software tools from the very beginning of the creative process. The advanced video cards of the past few years allow real time manipulation and investigation of simple model forms. We now can very quickly generate 3D mass models, or digital clay, to study form, mass and relationships in 3D. Even when working with complex urban design projects, within a few hours we can turn a sketch into a 3D mass model. We can then study our design from a variety of angles, make refinements and revisions, then immediately see the effects of those revisions. Very little time is invested in creating and revising the forms, which therefore means that we are much more free to study, improve and refine our designs in an interactive manner inconceivable even a few years ago. While the computer is frequently used as a highly effective rendering tool, we have found the ability to quickly generate, manipulate and navigate basic 3D forms invaluable.
2. International Collaborations
Combining the strengths of a variety studios made up of different peoples on different continents is an enormous challenge. It is also an extremely effective design tool. Our Los Angeles studio is able to generate and develop an enormous quantity of ideas in a very short time. Our education, variety and richness of experience, and our location within the highly creative LA community ideally position us to develop and refine compelling concepts. Illustrating those concepts in Los Angeles, however, is extremely costly. Our China studio is far more expert in illustration and presentation techniques than are we. They are also much less costly than are LA based illustrators. Collaborating internationally gives us much more time to spend on the creative process, and provides far better results.
3. InterStudio Alliances
Our work focuses on large and complicated projects with short timelines. As a result, we often find ourselves inundated with work. Further, every project is different from the last, each requires different skill sets. Yet we are finding we have to work harder for less compensation in this challenging world economy. Our response has been to develop strong collaborative relationships with a number of design studios, each with a skills and expertise complementary to ours. We can now quickly assemble the best team for each project, a team that is highly effective and efficient, and include experts in each component of each project. Though confidentiality agreements preclude us from naming names, our team includes experts in retail, entertainment, urban design and resort destinations, experts from the biggest names in each of these industries.
DigitalClay, International Collaborations and InterStudio Alliances are the new reality in our industry. For GlobalDesign Workshop, adapting to these realities has been natural and rewarding. The refinements tare revolutionary for us, and the resultant process is less stressful, more enjoyable and far more successful than any we have experienced before.
Our next post will include an illustrated case study on how this process successfully worked on one of our recent projects.