April 10, 2006
by Canadian Architect
World renowned as the city of the Terra Cotta Warriors, Xi’an is one of the Four Great Ancient capitals of China, having hosted 13 dynasties in China’s history. Formerly named Chang’an, the current Shaanxi Province capital was the origin of the ancient Silk Road. The Silk Road came into being in Han dynasty, and prospered throughout the Tang dynasty. Crossing through the Middle East while anchoring Europe and Asia, it played an important role in redefining political relations, economic trades, as well as cultural exchanges between the East and the West. The New Silk Road Cultural Park (NSRCP) is located in New Qu jiang District, next to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in the South East of part of Xi’an. Established around the Nanhu (South Lake), the site covers over 100 hectares, and its construction is expected to begin by mid 2006. Echoing the Silk Road historical impact on cultural exchange between Asia and Europe, the NSRCP will host 9 innovative cultural venues that will celebrate each culture of the Silk Road, while exploring the impact of intensified global communication and travel upon the merging of cultures. The NSRCP will be the largest cultural destination dedicated to studying the cultures inhabiting the threshold between China and Europe. In the city where the Silk Road originated, a sequence of 9 zones will define a journey through the cultures. The list of the specific cultural areas: Eastern Turkish cultural areas (including Kazakhstan and neighboring countries); Persian and Baloutch cultural areas (including Iran,Pakistan and neighboring countries); Arabic cultural areas (including members of Arab league and neighboring countries); Western Turkish and Caucasian area (including Turkey and neighboring countries); Hebraic cultural area (including Israel and neighboring areas ); Eastern Europe destinations; Western Europe destinations; Mediterranean Europe destinations; Scandinavian destinations
The objective of this international competition is to select the top nine experienced architects who will join the project under the guidance of the master design team. Each invited team will be requested to address the following tasks:
*to research and contribute knowledge on each cultural identity and its relations with other cultures;
*to explore the impact of the historical Silk Road as well as current communication exchanges between each culture;
*to design the spaces in one of the 9 cultural areas in the New Silk Road Park.
The project submitted by invited competitors will explore answers to those topics:
*how to express the distinct cultural identities of each area;
*how those distinct cultural characteristics impact the built environment;
*how to define the anchoring of those cultures to the historical Silk Road;
*how the architecture and design of space can define a “New Silk Road ” acknowledging each culture and their interactions.
The projects will address the following contextual challenges through a proposal to be set in the NSRCP of Qu Jiang New District:
*thresholds between the site and the urban context;
*the threshold areas between the neighboring cultural areas;
*the inner circulation structure reflecting the identical culture;
*a gathering place that will host large scale cultural events;
*one or several buildings or landscape spaces that will express the specific cultural identities through arts and rituals – the area can include exhibition, performing, archiving, meeting, shopping and living areas;
*a waterfront landscape, also defined by the cultural identity of each area and including the regional vegetation, will anchor the site onto the lake.
Each site will range from 15,000 square metres to 25,000 square metres in area, and will host a built program of 7,500 square metres to 12,500 square metres. The details of the program and site will be provided to invited competitors.
Competition sponsors include the Xi’an Qu Jiang New District Administration Committee, and a Master design team comprising of Dahan Consultant Institute (Xi’an, China) and Integral Jean Beaudoin (Montreal, Canada).
A permanent group of juries will include three officials of Qu Jiang New District authorities and four members of the master design team, including lead architect Liu Kecheng of DDCI and Jean Beaudoin of IJB. A rotating group of three specialists and officials will complete the nine jury sessions that will address specifically each cultural area. The definite number and identity of jury members will be confirmed at the design stage.
Participants will be selected amongst entrants who send in the registration request and provide the application booklet that will include the following items: a letter of interest describing their understanding of the project and vision on the impact of a New Silk Road uniting cultures from China, through the Middle East and onto Europe (3 A4); a team description (1 A4); a work resum of the team leader (2 A4); a list of awards and publications (1 A4); and a selection of 3 related built projects (66 A4). The details of the application booklet will be provided upon registration by e-mail to [email protected] The booklet will be submitted as a high-format PDF file.The nine winning teams will be invited to enter in contractual agreement to integrate the design team for the development of the architectural spaces in their respective cultural area. The other teams will receive a US $6,000 stipend upon submitting the requested three A1 panels.
May 1, 2006 is the registration deadline, and selected teams will be announced on May 14, 2006. June 14, 2006 is the submission deadline, with winners being announced on July 1, 2006.
For more information, please e-mail [email protected]