Beidaihe, China - Urban Plan

Tiger Stone Square & East Beach

Beidaihe, a town with 60,000 residents 180 miles east of Beijing on the Bohai Sea, attracts 2,000,000 annual visitors as a summer resort popular with tourists and state workers on vacation. Beginning with Chairman Mao, it has been the summer retreat of the Communist Party leadership from Beijing, and hence an unofficial seat of government. With its beautiful natural situation mandating conservation, with historical and cultural assets worthy of preservation, with the framework to support multiple activities and environments, through intelligent planning and principled redevelopment this town at the edge of the sea can become a beacon of the new China to its people and the world. The team was tasked with cataloging and assessing the existing fabric of two large precincts and then recommending demolition of substandard buildings, renovation of adequate structures, and infill with new buildings where needed. Strategies to break down barriers between “units” and to enhance commercial and pedestrian activities were focused upon. Given the language barrier, a visual approach to urban planning was essential. Analytical and intuitive responses to the place were communicated through diagrams and sketches. Images of time-tested urban precedents, both western and Chinese, were used to establish common ground. Educational and aspirational components were incorporated to help decision makers appreciate and advance the plan. Developed through six site visits with the whole-hearted cooperation of our Chinese clients, the published planning report is an example of a more poetical/metaphorical/spiritual approach to urban design, one that clearly and concisely prescribes urban directives and solutions to reinforce and redefine this special place.


2003, Honor Award of Excellence, AIA Gulf States Region
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