International design firm MLA+ has unveiled designs for Chengdu Tianfu New Town Landscape, a proposal for a vibrant landscape corridor, as part of an international design competition hosted by the southwestern Chinese city. Inspired by Chengdu’s rich history and strong local character, the architects crafted a 210,000-square-meter linear space that puts a modern spin on local cultural icons such as tea houses and opera. The site-specific approach of blending traditional culture with modern forms gives the competition entry its unique appearance that celebrates Chengdu throughout.
Developed for Chengdu Tianfu New Town, located about 25 kilometers south of downtown Chengdu, the Chengdu Tianfu New Town Landscape aims to help define the area’s central business district as a new core of the city. “[Chengdu] is a city where various elements clash into unique identities: eastern lifestyle and western culture, traditional and modern spaces, city and nature,” the architects explained in a press release. “It is also a city famous for its layback and leisure lifestyle. Chengdu’s way of life sets it apart from other major cities in China.”
The architects highlighted Chengdu’s unique qualities with a series of modern architectural and landscape forms that are rooted in traditional design. One example can be seen in their interpretation of the tea house — an important social space for locals — as shared gathering spaces for informal meetings and casual gatherings inserted into bamboo gardens in the central landscape corridor. The centuries-old Sichuan Opera is also celebrated with a nearly 800-square-meter water stage that can accommodate events for up to 2,000 people.
Elements that focus on Chengdu’s more recent accomplishments include the “Food Hill,” an undulating landscape of green hills with integrated tables for outdoor eating and pop-up street food markets to emphasize the vibrant food culture of the city, which was recognized as Asia’s first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2008. Attention is also given to the city’s growing street sports and hip-hop culture in the “Red Wall Playground,” a dynamic space inspired by the local tradition of red walls.
Images via Frontop