International Urban Design Competition for Xiamen New Airport

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Project description

Xiamen is a bucolic coastal city with enormous potential for economic development. With the landing of Xiang’an International Airport in the south, it is marked as the gateway to the maritime Silk Road. Recently, the UPDIS and Aedas consortium won the international urban design competition for the new Xiamen airport area; the scheme includes the master plan for the 62 square kilometer site at the estuary of the Jiuxi River along Xiamen’s southern coast line and, as well as the urban design for the 15 square kilometer main area.

“Xiang’an Airport will become a key connectivity node between Xiamen and the world. Our primary concern with the design is to mediate between the natural landscape and urban development while showcasing Xiamen’s unique culture. The key areas should serve as a fulcrum for land development, a paradigm for a future international airport, said Aedas director Lily Qian.

Master plan
The site is naturally divided into three main areas by the bay. The design aims to create three diverse maritime cities with a multitude of commercial functions as well as a world-class urban living room that includes leisure, cultural, entertainment and community elements. To create vibrant and resilient cities, the cornerstones of planning prioritize ecology, optimize urban layout and transportation network, and cultivate cultural and public spaces, where the characteristics of Xiamen are preserved and contemporary. .

Key areas
Three key areas are identified among the three plots to stimulate regional growth with synergy: a headquarters area and a future marine park are planned on the western side of Dadeng Island, next to the airport; a green business valley and a seaside culture and art district are located on the west bank of the Jiuxi River; and a Jiuxi science and innovation colony and a maritime community on the north side of Dadeng Island and a parcel on the east coast across the port.

Headquarters area and future marine park
The headquarters area occupies a crescent-shaped site along the west coast of Dadeng Island, endowed with excellent coastal resources, while the future marine park is located around it. It will be shaped into a demonstration park of future people-oriented offices and lifestyles, provide ancillary support to the airport business area as well as various industrial and urban services. Referred to as the TOD Hub Center, it can be linked to surrounding functions of office buildings, smart communities, research centers and more.

As a strategy to circumvent the limitations imposed by the height of the airport and the concern for ecological health, the park adopts a flat and elongated form; the design features green roofs, sunken plazas, waterfronts, to create a multi-dimensional scenic experience.

Green Valley Business and Seaside Cultural and Artistic District
The Business Green Valley and Seaside Culture and Art District positions itself as a utility-rich regional business center in the city. The office and financial districts are placed nearby, while the cultural and art districts are located facing the coastal ecological belt. The disparate parts are sutured with the coast by a visual system of corridors and axes. Due to the slow-moving three-dimensional system that seamlessly connects rail, public and river transport, a highly efficient transport network is built.

The built complex is organized according to the logic of water ecology to assimilate the city to the landscape. The design combines southern Fujian traditions and modern architectural language, uses a block module with mixed functions including exterior streets and interior courtyards, to build a distinct public living space. The product of this layout is a marine economic and cultural demonstration of Xiamen’s unique temperament.

Jiuxi Science and Innovation Establishment and Maritime Community
Consisting of two areas and three smaller islands along both sides of the port, this area is designed to become an integrated maritime work and community space merging green ecology and smart environment.
It is populated with laboratories, conference centers, aquariums, mangrove parks, museums as well as residential groups, with core areas created to provide support services to communities. The design takes advantage of the unique geographical feature of the region by designing various functions and public spaces along the coastline, supported by a comprehensive water transport system.

Each island has a water square as its core, with several waterways extending outward. Characteristic interior bays and docks are created to fully present the coastal scene to residents. Users are invited to conduct scientific and technological speeches and lectures surrounded by the rich scene of water, demonstrating a new and attractive way of working. In addition, a slow network is installed through plank roads, seaside paths and waterways and in the continuity of the narrative of the project.

“We hope that by highlighting the precious features of Xiamen and highlighting the harmony between the sea and the city, the new airport area will be an icon that will pave the way for innovative development.” – Lily Qian, director of Aedas.

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