Lai’An City Masterplan

The Chinese public company Laian Dingxing Park Construction and Development Co., Ltd at the end of 2016 invited some international designers to a consultation for the development of the masterplan for the Lai’an New Town centre, in the hinterland of Nanjing. To the four groups of designers, two Chinese, one German, and one Italian led by Arch. Luigi Colombo, were asked to propose a vision for the new city, from masterplan to architecture, trough a multi-phase process. The project area has an area of 6 square kilometers and is intended as the first phase of an urban development of 26 sq km by 2026, connected to a high-speed railway with Shanghai and Nanjing. The functional engines of the new town are linked to research and production of complex technological components, especially in bio-medical field, automation, railway technologies and environmental control; moreover, in the area around the station there is a business and commercial district. Alongside the economic functions that drive the city, new model of urban development characterized by a high quality of life and focused on a wide range of services for leisure, sport and health is proposed in an urban landscape full of rich in natural elements. The city is at the same time a laboratory for experimentation of the technologies developed in research centers and a pilot project for the development of new settlement models for China. It has the ability to attract both new residents interested in living in an high quality urban environment, and floating users who are offered innovative services in the medical field and the possibility of a tourism oriented to shopping, leisure and the practice of sports in a natural environment. The settlement plot is structured by a series of axes centered on a large artificial lake that serves as a scenic backdrop and fulcrum of urban area. The urban fabric is characterized by a mix of functions, aimed at avoiding the emergence of dormitory districts and the redistribution of the access to services throughout the territory ; this leads to a city alive twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The main axes on their side are characterized by the concentration of a prevalent function, which defines its character and vocation. These arteries are therefore divided into Arts and Culture, Business, Eco-Residence, Sport, and Music and they are interweaved by a system of parks and green spaces that constitutes an uninterrupted mesh of spaces with a high ecological value and which connects in a transversal sense the city, ensuring easy access to environmental services. The project was developed in two phases: a first moment of mass modeling and identification of the landmarks in which the volumes (5.660.000 sqm) were arranged on the territory with particular attention to the redistribution of the land value and to the identification of some iconic buildings that structure the rhythm of the urban plot and act as attractors and reference for development. At this stage have also been determined the outline design of the ecological network as well as mobility strategies focusing on intermodality and pedestrian accessibility to services. In a second moment the architectural character of the areas closest to the lake was deepened with a design integrated in the landscape with buildings in close dialogue with the green infrastructure and the canal system, inspired by the Italian tradition; In particular, the public buildings and the special functions placed around the lake were developed with an iconic design.


Project: Benedetto Camerana (urban project and architectural) Gala China (Customer) Arch. Luigi Colombo – Gala Engineering (General and planning coordination) SD Partner (Urban planning and coordination) Botticini + Facchinelli ARW srl (urban project and architectural) PAN (landscape design) TRM (mobility design)
Collaborators: Arch. Eugenio Bosco, Arch. Marco Caretto, Arch. Alberto M. Spingor, Arch. Giulia Palmerini
Type: competition
Client: Laian Dingxing Park Construction & Development Co., Ltd
Procedure: in progress
Chronology: 2017
Location: Longhua District, Nanjing, China
Gross floor area: 6.000.000 mq / 6 kmq