798 Arts district vision plan

Urban Design / Nov - Dec 2018

798 Arts district vision plan

At the time of the plan’s development, Beijing developers were razing and rebuilding much of the city. Rather than tear down the industrial infrastructure and historic buildings influenced by Russian and German presence in the area over the years, Sasaki proposed preserving as much of the existing infrastructure as possible to capture the spirit, history and character of the place. The interdisciplinary team of planners, urban designers and landscape architects crafted recommendations that married programme and massing in consideration of interstitial spaces and circulation routes. The 798 Vision Plan outlined how the community might evolve over time—from a series of derelict factory buildings to a cultural destination and, eventually, a thriving mixed-use community.

In 2004, the district faced demolition due to obsolescence. Public outcry and the intervention of several prominent cultural organisations helped spare the area from the wrecking ball. An initiative led by the owners of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art helped the landholder reimagine the space. Planners sought consensus by proving that an adaptive reuse strategy was a better option than demolition, and that the area could still attract jobs, increase land values and evolve.

Project Name 798 Arts District Vision Plan
Location Beijing, China Design completed (framework plan)
Completion Date December 2006
Site Area 175 acres
Gross Floor Area 144,303 square metres
Client/Owner Urbis Development
Architectural Firm Sasaki
Principal Architect Michael Grove
Images/Photos Sasaki; Edward Caruso; Rob Shearer

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