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KNOWSPACE architecture + cities BDA

Kaifeng New Town Civic Center Masterplan

Kaifeng New Town
Building type
urban construction
building project
new building
material façade
Kaifeng / China

Li Kaisheng + Erhard An-He Kinzelbach + Zhao Rong + JR Design

Project type:         
Invited urban design competition 1st prize

Urban Planning Department Kaifeng

120.000 m2 GFA / 22 ha


In recent years, the old imperial city of Kaifeng regained relevance both economically and culturally in the shade of the provincial capital Zhengzhou. One of the consequences of this development is the plan to build Kaifeng New Town with a new civic center in the urban corridor between Kaifeng and Zhengzhou. The civic center's program consists of the city hall, a conference center and fair, a museum, a library, the urban planning museum, a youth center, a children's center, and a creative industries center. These public buildings are complemented by large blocks with a commercial mix of housing, offices and retail.

The design concept of the masterplan ties in with Kaifeng's role within China's urban design history. Kaifeng as a prototype of the city of Song dynasty was characterized by the transformation of the introverted and walled block city of Tang dynasty into an urban structure where the block perimeters were opened up through small-scale retail and gastronomy. This largely contributed to a development in which the streets gradually turned into public spaces and containers of urban life. Despite scale, these structures were predominantly pedestrian. The Kaifeng New Town Civic Center masterplan propagates this kind of pedestrian urbanity. It achieves this through 2 strategies. Firstly, all public buildings are complemented with a small-scale commercial program of their kind along the perimeter, in order to maintain a minimum of public life and appropriation of the streets. For example, the conference center has a food court ring, the Historical Museum has an antique market and the library has a book street etc. Secondly, in the mix-use blocks the masterplan utilizes a specific typology that mixes commercial program with housing in section and prescribes a minimum of courtyards.