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Gerard Everden

The cultural centre is envisaged as a community living room


Foster + Partners have revealed the designs for the Xicen Science and Technology Centre at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta Region in Shanghai, China.

The mixed-use project features a cultural centre at its heart, with a learning centre, theatre and exhibition space, as well as offices, retail and residential areas.

A new water street runs north to south, through the centre of the development, drawing people towards the cultural centre and its adjacent green plaza. The design provides an array of outdoor public spaces and makes the most of the waterside setting, with pontoons, floating teahouses, and areas for paddling.

The cultural centre is the centrepiece of the project, with a sweeping roof that acts as a garden bridge. The east wing of the building contains three levels of theatre space, while the west wing contains two levels of the learning centre and an exhibition space above. The shaded garden bridge spans the new water street and provides views of the wider development.

Greenery and water will cover 35 per cent of the scheme’s residential areas, with green terraces provided for residents – offices are sited next to the residential zones, sharing their amenities and public spaces.

Here studio head Gerard Everden shares further details of the project:

What will it mean for the region to have such a large-scale cultural facility built?
Xicen Science & Technology Centre is a landmark project, designed around the site’s natural resources, including the central Shengouxu Harbour. The human-centred design will have a positive impact on the wider area, showcasing its vibrant art and culture.

How would you sum up the design of the cultural centre?
The cultural centre is envisaged as a community ‘living room,’ with new exhibitions and performances activating the space and state-of-the-art lighting design that enlivens the plaza at night.

How has the design been influenced by the local area?
The design draws inspiration from Jinze Town, incorporating the symbols and architectural references of the ancient water town. The scheme also learns from traditional Jiangnan culture, translating more traditional elements into a modern design language.

Taking the form of a bridge, the cultural centre serves as a public passageway across the river, connecting the lakefront site and the commercial water street within the residential cluster, while providing a public space and viewing platform for people to enjoy the natural surroundings.

The project incorporates the existing wetlands and introduces sponge city strategies to retain rainwater. In the summer, when the temperature is high, the water system and greenery will cool public spaces across the development.

What are you proudest of with this project?
Xicen Science & Technology Centre will set new standards for low impact waterside communities within the Yangtze River Delta region, and further afield. The human-scale project establishes connections with the natural world, maximising views towards Beihenggang Lake, while carefully knitting together the site’s waterways and new pedestrian routes.

Image: Foster + Partners

"The project incorporates the existing wetlands and introduces sponge city strategies to retain rainwater" – Gerard Everden, head of studio, Foster + Partners

Credit: Image: Foster + Partners
The design of the centre has been inspired by Jinze, a nearby ancient water town Credit: Image: Foster + Partners
The design incorporates the water, with bridges, pontoons and floating teahouses Credit: Image: Foster + Partners
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2024 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Gerard Everden

People

Gerard Everden


The cultural centre is envisaged as a community living room

Designs for the Xicen Science and Technology Centre in Shanghai, China, have been revealed Image: Foster + Partners
Image: Foster + Partners
The design of the centre has been inspired by Jinze, a nearby ancient water town Image: Foster + Partners
The design incorporates the water, with bridges, pontoons and floating teahouses Image: Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners have revealed the designs for the Xicen Science and Technology Centre at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta Region in Shanghai, China.

The mixed-use project features a cultural centre at its heart, with a learning centre, theatre and exhibition space, as well as offices, retail and residential areas.

A new water street runs north to south, through the centre of the development, drawing people towards the cultural centre and its adjacent green plaza. The design provides an array of outdoor public spaces and makes the most of the waterside setting, with pontoons, floating teahouses, and areas for paddling.

The cultural centre is the centrepiece of the project, with a sweeping roof that acts as a garden bridge. The east wing of the building contains three levels of theatre space, while the west wing contains two levels of the learning centre and an exhibition space above. The shaded garden bridge spans the new water street and provides views of the wider development.

Greenery and water will cover 35 per cent of the scheme’s residential areas, with green terraces provided for residents – offices are sited next to the residential zones, sharing their amenities and public spaces.

Here studio head Gerard Everden shares further details of the project:

What will it mean for the region to have such a large-scale cultural facility built?
Xicen Science & Technology Centre is a landmark project, designed around the site’s natural resources, including the central Shengouxu Harbour. The human-centred design will have a positive impact on the wider area, showcasing its vibrant art and culture.

How would you sum up the design of the cultural centre?
The cultural centre is envisaged as a community ‘living room,’ with new exhibitions and performances activating the space and state-of-the-art lighting design that enlivens the plaza at night.

How has the design been influenced by the local area?
The design draws inspiration from Jinze Town, incorporating the symbols and architectural references of the ancient water town. The scheme also learns from traditional Jiangnan culture, translating more traditional elements into a modern design language.

Taking the form of a bridge, the cultural centre serves as a public passageway across the river, connecting the lakefront site and the commercial water street within the residential cluster, while providing a public space and viewing platform for people to enjoy the natural surroundings.

The project incorporates the existing wetlands and introduces sponge city strategies to retain rainwater. In the summer, when the temperature is high, the water system and greenery will cool public spaces across the development.

What are you proudest of with this project?
Xicen Science & Technology Centre will set new standards for low impact waterside communities within the Yangtze River Delta region, and further afield. The human-scale project establishes connections with the natural world, maximising views towards Beihenggang Lake, while carefully knitting together the site’s waterways and new pedestrian routes.

Image: Foster + Partners

"The project incorporates the existing wetlands and introduces sponge city strategies to retain rainwater" – Gerard Everden, head of studio, Foster + Partners


Originally published in Attractions Management 2024 issue 2

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