NANJING SILICON ALLEY
A MOMENT OF COEXISTING
WINNER - 2ND PRIZE
The city of Nanjing is well-known as a nevralgic center of the eastern part of China, considered as one of the most important science and education urban nodes of the entire Country.
The future technology park, that is expected to embody and promote a urban and human innovative evolution, will take place in the area close to the Southeast University, moving from the ex Tobacco Factory as the propulsive startup epicenter.
The project area, placed in the Xuanwu District, is characterized by a dense urban fabric, punctuated by several and heterogeneous places of interest and open spaces. The Nanjing Presidential Palace is located in the southern-eastern area, as for the Six Dinasties Museum and the Jangsu Art Museum; the National Art Museum, the Jiangning Weawing Museum and the ex Tobacco Facory take place in the southern-western part; instead the Southeast University complex occupies a large portion of the nothern area.
The “attractive functions” system makes the area really vital and active, which attracts not only residents, but a large number of visitors and tourists.
The diagram of the relationship between empty spaces and built up areas clearly highlights a central vehicular axis (the Taiping North Road, which connects the Nanjing Municipal Area to the Zhuangyuan Loumen Square) along which the main buildings and public spaces take place. If the main streets have a very large section, the surrounding built-up fabric is very dense, with much smaller distribution roads.
This suggests a main traversability of the area according to the north-west/south-east axis, and a secondary one through an orthogonal system.Despite the extremely dense fabric of the surrounding context, several open areas take place here, interrupting the urban morphology, and offering visitors functional and differentiated spaces for rest and socialization.
The “open spaces” system overlaps the “attractive functions” one, giving the way to a very complex and heteroheneous urban system, that makes the area a very interesting context where to insert the innovation and technology park.
The existing complex used to cover an area of about 15,715.5 sqm, with a total construction area of about 33,587.82 sqm. The park is located very close to important commercial and artistic buildings, that make the whole area a very attractive urban epiceneter, with a residential area set in the nothern part of the project site. The hystorical photos, dating back to the 80s, picture the indoor spaces of the previously existing Tobacco Factory, showing its production line, working areas and general logistic organization. Those traditional industrial spaces are going to be renovated into the innovative hub, welcoming a new contemporary idea of working areas, inevitable and necessary social evolution.
The project site, originally dedicated to the Tobacco Factory, is occupied by a complex of 13 buildings, very different in dimensions and functions. The graph highlights the relationswhip between the built up and the empty areas, which clearly identifies a MAIN central space, around which most of the buildings take place. The L building defines a circular crossing, while the outside area is partially dedicated to parking lots. The permeability and accessibility of the central space is ensured by a main axis coming from the Taiping North Road, and an open front facing the north-eastern side.
THE VALLEY VS THE ALLEY
The worldwide most known technological and innovation center takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, covering more than 120 km2. Besides the fact that the Silicon Valley has always been considered as more “technology-focused” instead of the eastern one, it is clear that the peculiar location had deeply characterized the famous center, making it more like an autonomous innovative area, rather than an integrated part of the existing City.
SILICON ALLEYSILICON ALLEY
Originally centerd in the Flatiron District in New York City, the Silicon Alley took its name alluding to the famous west side technological center. Its central location within the southern Manhattan area had undoubtely characterized the hub as an active center inside urban fabric, with reciprocal interchanges and relationships with the heterogeneous context.
The technological park welcomes several heterogeneous industries and companies.
But, how it would be possible to build a new building in this peculiar existing context? how to reactivate an existing complex, whithout changing its typological features ? and, how innovative technology hub can coexist with people’s everyday life?
The previous questions suggested the need for innovation and tradition to coexist, in a reciprocal balance where people’s social and common values would be highlighted.
Human being have always been seeking for innovation as a propulsive element for a profound social change and evolution. Innovation must move from the consciousness of our past, its history and traditions, that embody who we have been, to be really able to overcome our own boundaries and move forward to evolve.
As progress need to start from our past, the new building, representing future and innovation, will be spatially inserted on the existing one, reactivating its areas and proposing new attractive functions. The old and abandoned production lines of the Tobacco Factory will give the way to the new contemporary working spaces, in a necessary and continuous evolutive process.
The new building and the existing complex will compose a new unitary system, combining our past and heading to our future, becoming an integral part of social and urban life.
A symbiotic relationship among two dissimilar elements, groups, or organisms means a cooperative exchange, a mutually beneficial reciprocity for all the involved parti. As progress and innovation take advantages from the past and traditions, the innovative technological hub will establish a mutual relationship with the surrounding Nanjing city. Visitors and citizens will take part to conferences or will have the chance to rent high tech labs, while all the innovative programs and technological projects developed within the hub will be shared with the city itself. Furthermore, the new building can not be separated from the existing complex, that will be renovated and reactivated itself. While the ground floor will be dedicated to commercial activities located into a new urban system, the covering spaces will provide new attractive functions, and a green urban park.
The main idea defining the approach to the existing building is to preserve its most important features, re-functionalizing the interior spaces by inserting new attractive functions. An “incomplete architecture”, therefore, that will move focusing on spatial, historical and typological characteristics of the complex.
As for the revolutionary project of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where the interior areas result form careful demolitions, that redefine and totally transform the spaces by subtracting volumes and floors.
The design will look forward to maximizing the interior flexibility, proposing the spatial articulation of a modern Fun Palace, able to adapt to people needs, different events and activities.
The ground floor will be totally permeable, welcoming and attractive for visitors and citizens, with flexible upper levels completely adaptable for working, meeting and socializing. The complex will preserve its historical features, handing down the memory and values of the place, also by preserving the formal identity of the complex itself, that it an integral part of the urban complex and people life.