Morphing Mountains, Bejing, China
In our rapidly urbanizing world, China is expected to play an important role, chiefly because of its size and the speed at which it is currently changing. China’s urban population has grown from 191 million to 594 million in the last 2 three decades. About half of China’s population now lives in cities, and the other half still have a mainly rural existence. This urban design plan attempts to examine this phenomenon and work to make this transition from rural to urban a harmonious one.
The Morphing Mountains plan is a project developed for a site at the base of the Fragrant Hills Park in Beijing China. Fragrant Hills Park is an imperial garden at the foot of the Western Mountains in the Haidian District, in the northwestern part of Beijing. The project was the result of a 1 month program, that was a collaboration between CSU Pomona and North China Technical University, as well as a collaboration between landscape, architecture, and planning. This plan was the outcome of an effort shared between two groups; Team Moon and Team Sun. The groups were made up of mostly undergraduate students, but also involved some graduate students as well. This plan was developed through a thorough analysis involving site interviews, as well as documentation of the existing site conditions and ecology. It was designed to provide a sustainable balance between existing and proposed residential housing developments, future commercial developments, as well as incorporating a ecologically sensitive public space. The plan includes a emphasis on maintaining existing property values and land uses as well as the design of a new architectural typology that would allow for exisitng populations to continue to live near Fragrant Hills. The project also consists of a site design that contains the design of a water canal system that would collect water from the constructed mounds, and retain the water on site to attract native bird species; as well as a plan for a constructed landscape that would reuse the derelict building supplies that were found on site. The central nine mounds concept is in reference to a traditional Chinese numerology, and is meant to imply harmony and reverence for
heaven. The number nine also has traditionally symbolized the supreme sovereignty of the Emperor of China who was the Son of Heaven. With Yin and Yang, opposite forces on a never-ending cycle of change, Fragrant Hills is a site of marvelous transformations and dualities; traditional and modern; vibrant pilgrimage festivals and quiet local life; icy winters and temperate summers; reticent days and spirited evenings; urban center and natural retreat. Some aspects remain constant, however. Fragrant Hills is distinguished as a great cultural park of imperial Beijing where visitors are drawn in yearly by its fragrant trees and healthful way of living. This urban design proposal responds to the many patterns of urban transformation unique to Fragrant Hills. Strategies for the