Li Jia Shan Housing and Master Plan
Benxi is a “third-tier” regional city in China’s industrial north. Famous for steel production and set the rugged, picturesque Tai Zi River valley, Benxi might remind Americans of Pittsburg, or Germans of the Ruhr Valley. The city’s redevelopment is being spearheaded by an activist Planning Department, now in the midst of an urban planning process to reclaim, and redefine many kilometers of waterfront. Near the center of the riverfront plan, and adjacent to a landmark Waterworks, is Li Jia Shan, an underused 20 Hectare hilltop site. Separated by topography, elevated roadways, and railroad tracks, the site is best suited for a discrete residential community but also has great potential as a regional destination for shopping, culture, and recreation. Its spectacular bluff overlooking a dramatic bend in the river was the inspiration for a town center in which retail, hotel, a cultural center, and an overlook park were interlocked in a dense 3-dimensional ensemble.
As the city’s newest and most amenitized housing estate, the project addresses a regional demand for quality urban living. In response, our team developed a full range of residential products—individual villas, townhouses, and condominiums—organized into several distinct neighborhoods. A stone-paved pedestrian loop circulates throughout the neighborhoods, linking them to the town center as it cuts across swaths of evergreen forest landscape layered between residential rows. Near the Waterworks our team proposed an indoor Aquatic Center, where high school students might compete to join China’s legendary Olympic Diving Team, and families could find relief from long dark winter days. The Master Plan has been hailed by the City and private development community, and the project is advancing into Conceptual Design by our Shanghai office.