New town on Yangtze River is inspired by water cities

Near Shanghai Foster + Partners designs the Xicen Science and Technology Centre, a mixed-use urban development on the Chinese coast.

The Foster + Partners team recently unveiled its design for the future Xicen Science and Technology Centre, a mixed-use urban development project located in the Yangtze River Delta region of Shanghai, China. In its relationship with the site’s unique geography, the firm was inspired by the region’s historic water cities, taking advantage of the site's new and existing waterways to create a “community on the water” consisting of housing, offices and public spaces.

The star of the intervention, a cultural center organized in two wings will form the centerpiece of the development, housing a learning center, theater, exhibition space and plaza. The architecture’s broad rooftop will include a bridge-shaped garden with greenery and wide steps connecting to the plaza. 

Foster + Partners, Xicen Science and Technology Centre, Shanghai, Cina. Courtesy Foster + Partners

Views also reveal streets lined with cafes, restaurants and stores, complemented by paved outdoor seating spaces next to scenic waterways and finished with lush vegetation. According to the UK study, “greenery and water will cover 35 percent of the project’s residential areas,” which will be positioned behind the cultural center and will consist of a cluster of buildings with private terraces.

These residences will share amenities and public spaces with adjacent office buildings, one of which will be located on the lakefront and designed to attract large organizations.

Regarding the mobility plan within the complex, Foster + Partners has stated its intention to explore the use of water cabs and electric scooters, while also aiming to incorporate “sponge city” strategies to help retain rainwater within the project perimeter and mitigate flooding.

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