Xi Shui Dong
Wuxi lies north-west of Shanghai, China, and owing to its proximity to the latter, as well as to the significant growth it has experienced in recent years, Wuxi has been dubbed “Little Shanghai”. It belongs to the economically developed Yangtze River Delta and was a hub of light and heavy industries in early 20th century, a status it enjoyed until after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
In 2008, DPZ was commissioned to develop a detailed master plan for the redevelopment of a disused industrial complex in Wuxi, which included several abandoned warehouses on a canal, into a new mixed use residential, commercial and entertainment district.
The Master Plan places importance on the sense of arrival into the site, and on the opportunity to enhance and reinforce the street level retail, while respecting the location and character of the historic buildings on site.
The west portion of the plan has the following main features:
- The introduction of a signature/icon building terminating the east-west approach and attached to a small canal front plaza
- The extension of a small basin/inlet from the canal coming up to the small plaza, creating a dialogue between the shopping street and the water and adding energy and vitality to the space
- Breaking the podium mass into smaller modules
- The introduction of a pedestrian arcade along the podia edge facing the shopping street for shelter and architectural interest.
- The introducing of masses and volumes that add variety and interest to the vertical and horizontal composition of the podia;
- The introduction of voids and recesses at strategic locations along the podia edge (e.g. where the tower elements meet the base) to create recessed thresholds, courtyards, etc.
The central portion of the plan has the following characteristics:
- The redistribution of residential typologies concentrating high-rise, high density development on the northern end (along the major east-west street, next to the large shopping center) and allocating low-rise, low density development (larger single family homes) on the southern tip
- The retail ‘trajectory’ is proposed to extend from the western edge of the canal along the east-west road (and the proposed footbridges) to the other side of the canal; the retail network may extend to the shopping center, along the east-west road and along the eastern edge of the canal
- The east-west canal through the center of the island is realigned to extend the view corridor from the western edge further into the site, terminating on the second north-south canal.