A recent competition to design a creative zone in Beijing yielded this fascinating proposal to incorporate open space and an economic zone on the edge of the Beijing River. The winner of the competition was UNstudio, whose approach to the challenge was to compress the two distinct zones together in an accordion-like fashion, weaving both nature and the urban fabric together. Stores, shops and craftsmen will all take residence in the creative zone allowing tourists and Beijing residents to be able to enjoy the peace of the greenbelt as well as shop in local stores.

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The beautiful greenbelt surrounding the area’s buildings will be situated right on the banks of the expansive Beijing River. Meant to attract tourists seeking both nature and a place to peruse shops, the Creative Zone will spur on more sustainable development along the banks of the river. The greenbelt will also become a showcase for experimental projects and emerging design practices. Meanwhile the shops and craftsmen will operate on the basis of the four clusters of a product’s life cycle – ‘think, develop, produce and sell’, and will create their wares on site, rather than ship them from some remote factory.

The competition was held by the People’s Government of Yanqing County, Beijing Municipality and Beijing Institute of Architectural Design. UNstudio, beat out Foster + Partners with their Creative Zone master plan, with help from sustainable building consulting firm, ARUP, which assisted with the eco-minded design features. While the details surrounding the sustainable elements have not been released, ARUP has been responsible for implementing sustainability in many of our favorite projects like the Water Cube, Treasure Island and the California Academy of Sciences, so we trust that they have some similarly innovative ideas for the Creative Zone.