Foster + Partners unveil designs for Xicen Science & Technology Center

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Designed by Foster + Partners, Xicen Science & Technology Center is a mixed-use project in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta region. The location is located on the Shanghai-Huzhou development axis, with high-speed rail connections to the city. Learning from the region's historic waterfront cities, the Xicen Science and Technology Center seamlessly integrates new and existing waterways to create a low-impact waterfront community for living, working and visiting.
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Gerard Evenden, head of the studio, said: “We are delighted to have won the design competition for the Xicen Science and Technology Centre. Water and greenery are the cornerstones of this mixed-use complex, which learns from China's historic water cities. The human-scale project establishes connections with the natural world, maximizing views towards Beihenggang Lake, while carefully connecting the site's waterways and new pedestrian routes.”
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The project consists of a cultural center, with a learning center, theater and exhibition space, as well as offices, retail and residential areas. The new water street leads from north to south, through the center of the village, attracting people towards the cultural center and its neighboring green square. The shady street is lined with cafes, shops and restaurants that bring the urban empire to life. The design offers a range of outdoor public spaces and makes the most of the unique waterfront setting, with pontoons, floating teahouses and paddling areas. It is also exploring the use of micro-mobility vehicles, such as water taxis and electric scooters, to enable sustainable travel through the development.
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The cultural center is the central part of the project. Its wide roof acts as a garden bridge, literally and symbolically enhancing connections throughout the complex. The east wing of the building contains three levels of theater space, while the west wing contains two levels of a learning center and exhibition space above. A shaded garden bridge spans the new Water Street and provides spectacular views of the wider development.
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Greenery and water will cover 35% of the residential areas of the scheme. Generous green terraces provide private outdoor spaces for residents and provide a range of environmental benefits. Offices are adjacent to residential areas, sharing their facilities and public spaces. The lakefront office development is designed to attract large organisations, due to its prime location and expansive floor plates.
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The project conserves existing wetlands and incorporates sponge city strategies to retain rainwater. Water and greenery are also used to cool the development, during the warmer summer months. The development aims to achieve a 2-star China Green Building rating, while the cultural center aims for a 3-star rating. The project will be evaluated according to the standard of Chinese eco-districts.

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Press release and images courtesy of Foster + Partners

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