James Corner Field Operations Wins Prestigious Urban Design Competition for a Major New City in Qianhai, Shenzhen, China.

James Corner Field Operations was awarded First Prize in the International Competition for the Planning of the Qianhai Region of Shenzhen, beating out 10 other invited design teams including OMA/Rem Koolhaas, BLAU Architecture and Urbanism, Bjarke Ingles Group,SWA, and Nikken Sekke among others.

The invited competition was sponsored by the Urban Planning Land and Resources Commission of Shenzhen. Chaired by Dr. Balkrishna Doshi, the jury was comprised of international experts in the fields of architecture, planning, landscape and urban design, including Charles Waldheim, Chen Yixin, Duan Jin, Lin Qun, Phil Kim, Ralph Lerner, Rocco Yim and Sung Hong-Tau.

The project site includes 4,500 acres of reclaimed land surrounding Qianhai Harbor on the western coast of Shenzhen. Upon implementation, Qianhai is envisioned to be the financial, logistics and service hub of Shenzhen, and a major new urban center – a “Manhattan” -- in the Pearl River Delta mega-region, linking Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

The JCFO scheme envisions a new “Water City” for 1.5 million people. The design is dense, compact, mixed, sustainable and centered around the area’s most important resource – water. The proposal breaks the site into 5 manageable development sub- districts through the introduction of five “Water Fingers” that extend along the line of the existing rivers and channels, connecting the adjacent city perpendicular to the harbor’s edge. These Fingers function as both innovative hydrological infrastructures and new public parkland. They process and remediate stormwater, while expanding the amount of development frontage onto public open spaces that structure and organize the larger city.

The urban fabric within each development sub-district takes the scale of the typical Shenzhen block as a cue, but breaks it down to generate a diverse range of inter-connected urban neighborhoods. The result is a hyper-dense, yet ecologically sensitive urban territory that offers an iconic waterfront, diverse building stock, cultural and recreational features, as well as a series of unique, inter-connected public open spaces that rival major destination waterfront cities around the world.

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