Meixi Lake Master PlanChangsha, China Gale International Master Plan 70 million ft2 / 6.5 million m2 McGraw-Hill Construction 3rd Bi-Annual “Good Design Is Good Business” China Awards, Best Planning Project (2010)
The KPF design for the Meixi Lake master plan seeks to establish a paradigm of man living in balance with nature. A densely concentrated urban plan, packed with a full variety of functions and building types, is integrated with mountains, lakes, parks and canals, resulting in an environment which promotes both health and prosperity. As a new center within the larger metropolitan area of Changsha, Meixi proposes to offer a new model for the future of the Chinese city. Advanced environmental engineering, pedestrian planning, cluster zoning, and garden integration, are all made part of a holistic strategy of design in this healthy city.
The first element of the Meixi plan is water. Water is retained to form a 40 hectare lake, which constitutes the “central park” of the city. This lake provides for boat transport linkages, creates conditions for edge gardens, and makes places for cultural venues. Around the circular heart of this water body is wrapped the mixed use CBD. Here, high rise building districts are connected by a pedestrian tram street, reducing the need for car use in the city center.
Radiating from the water’s edge is a series of canals, allowing for boat transport from the city center to any one of eight neighbor-hood clusters. Each cluster houses about 10,000 people, and includes a village center featuring a school, shopping area, and other public functions. These neighborhoods are separated from one another by green buffers which accommodate exercise fields and natural landscape zones. The architecture of each “village” will be different, but material and formal coherence will be encouraged within each zone so as to create a sense of place.
The radial geometry of the city plan allows for a highly efficient transport system, reducing potential pollution and energy use. Other environmental strategies include collective gray and black water systems, distributed energy plants, and urban agriculture. A river flood plane is turned into a linear park which includes recreational areas, micro farms, and residential rows.
Overall, the design of Meixi allows the vitality of a dense metropolis to be combined with the beneficial qualities of a natural setting. This forward looking community will benefit from and promote the development of new technologies. Both a major convention center and an Education/R+D sector will encourage Chinese and foreign businesses to consider this an ideal place to demonstrate new ideas about the way we live. As a functional center, Meixi Lake will serve as the head of the West Changsha Pioneer Zone; as an urban model, we expect it to lead the way to a new way of thinking about the city of the future.