The most important collaboration of my professional life.
The new city occupies a 9-miles long area on the River Huangpu and lies 8 miles south of the center of Shanghai. The new city of Pujiang is being built for 100,000 inhabitants and was the winner in the closed international competition announced in 2001. The competition falls within the “One City and Nine Towns” project, which is a strategy to reorganize the metropolitan area of Shanghai by creating a multi-center scheme with nine urban nucleuses. The construction of a city, with restricted heights in an agricultural plain crisscrossed by canals and dotted with small villages, poses the significant problem of how a city should be founded. Western influences on the new city are visible in the manner in which the city dialogues with the greater Shanghai area and the environmental setting, which here is implemented through an orthogonal grid common to both the classical Western city and ancient Chinese tradition. The brief requested that the settlement be structured around the division of flow and control of the waters. The project offers an urban scheme on three integrated levels: a primary road network divides the area into large blocks (984 x 984 feet) that contain the intervention units: these are urban fabrics of low, medium, and mid-high density. A second grid of bicycle and pedestrian paths within the large blocks establishes the hierarchies between routes and commercial streets. A third grid of canals, some of which are navigable, rationalizes the system of water channels and establishes the infrastructural and landscape link between the inhabited area and the river.