Qianhai urban design of pilot zone

Buro Happold
  • Qianhai Urban Design waterfinger

1 / Introduction

Qianhai is being developed as the new central business district of Shenzhen on the coast of Da Chan Bay. Buro Happold and Field Operations scope of work was to focus on a pilot zone of 465 hectares comprising of waterfront open space, two river water parks and the urban planning of Guimian sub-district within the wider Masterplan of Qianhai. Buro Happold’s aim was to develop sustainable solutions across the site covering water, waste, energy and traffic.

Our coastal team developed coastal protection measures for 6km of sea front which responded to the adjacent uses within the urban fabric and water activities. The major challenge was to design the coastal elements to withstand the impact of typhoons but in calm times allow pedestrian access to the water’s edge. Our solution reduced the height of the sea walls through a combination of rough surfaces and batter slopes to enabling access to the water’s edge.

Water quality in Da Chan Bay is a key issue for the Shenzhen Municipal Government and a focus for our design. The urban areas used a combination of building water recycling and sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) to treat and attenuate surface water runoff before discharging to the rivers. The two river channels within our scope were designed with wetlands to provide a final level of treatment for the Nanshan sewage treatment plant. The river channels were also designed to provide flood mitigation and landscape amenity.

The solutions to the technical challenges within the rivers and coastal design are embedded within the landscape design creating a world class water city achieving the aims of the client and landscape architect.


Key facts

  • New central business district
  • 486 hectare pilot zone

Related Disciplines

The Project Details

Client: Urban Planning Land & Resources Commission of Shenzhen Municipality

Architect: James Corner Field Operations

Buro Happold services: Sustainability, Coastal Marine Engineering, River and Wetland Engineering, Traffic and Transport

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