de Architekten Cie. designs Urban Delta in Tianjin

Tianjin has north China’s leading port. The population of the area surrounding this port complex, the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA), is expected to increase by at least 200,000 people over the coming decade. The international competition for the expansion plan for this area has been won by de Architekten Cie. in association with DHV.

The winning masterplan covers a total area of 43 km2, of which 28 km2 will be created by reclaiming land from the Bohai Sea, and is based on the delta concept. The masterplan comprises characteristic elements such as high and low tide, islands, a diversity of nature, water features and urban embankments as well as more natural waterfronts. A network of canals and smaller water features interconnects with the centrally situated water plaza – the blue heart – ensuring a varied perception of the water. Applying the delta concept also creates five times more waterfront than would be achieved by blanket land reclamation, resulting in significantly higher land prices and underpinning this project’s solid economic feasibility.

By allowing for plenty of flexibility, each of the islands in the delta can be realized to its own particular design. Each one is different in terms of form, scale and land parcellation, resulting in a varied urban landscape. By following a specific density, mix of functions and dominant building typology, the unique character of each of the islands is reinforced. A colossal, rough-hewn crystal emerges from the water, marking the midpoint of the masterplan. At the core of the crystal is an immense swimming paradise that is surrounded by a shell of hotels, shops and entertainment. The enormous glazed façade of this Crystal Mountain can be opened, so that the swimming paradise is the region’s leading public attraction in summer and winter.

This is the third success achieved by Cie. Asia, which has been based in Shanghai since 2006 and has already won design competitions for the Tianjin Railway Station and the Culture Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Partners responsible for Cie. Asia: Branimir Medic and Pieter van Wesemael

Director of Cie. Asia: Jason Lee

Design team: Bas Horsting and Daniel Casas Valle