NOVA Spektrum - Lillestrøm

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Italy Meets China

12 March 2024

It is a well-known fact that Asians love European culture. They often only have a small window of opportunity to enjoy it. That's why China is now getting its own slice of Italy.


Pininfarina Architecture has designed an urban prototype for the Yangtze Delta.


The name Pininfarina is iconic for Italian design. Founded in 1930 as Carozzeria Pinin Farina, the design studio has made a name for itself in the automotive industry in particular, especially with the streamlined cars from Ferrari, but also Aston Martin, MG, Maserati, Lancia, Volvo, Fiat, Peugeot and many more. Pininfarina Architecture has opened up new fields of design: Infrastructure, residential buildings, offices, interior design, shopfittings or a mixture of everything. Why not a masterplan for an entire city?


City and nature should be in harmony here.


This seemingly utopian dream is now taking shape, as Pininfarina Architecture has been selected by the Taozhuang Municipal People's Government from among four prestigious architectural firms to design the master plan for a new city to be built near Shanghai and become part of the new urbanisation processes in the Yangtze River Delta. The project is not apolitical, as the overall aim is to strengthen strategic cooperation between China and Italy.


The energy supply comes exclusively from renewable sources and the circular economy has priority.

Blue Loop was designed in accordance with the guidelines of the National Land and Spatial Development Plan for the Yangtze River Delta with a time horizon of 15 years - specifically 2019-2035 - taking into account the waterways as an essential resource for the creation and maintenance of economic and social prosperity and as a central element of the natural ecosystem and climate regulation.


Water as a connecting element: everything - including the towns in the neighbourhood - should be accessible by boat.

The central theme of the new city is therefore water as a necessary impulse for the creation of environmentally friendly cities, the realisation of an ecological civilisation and the heritage of water cities. The name of the project "Blue Loop" is derived from the waterway system that surrounds the project area and is intended to support the local agricultural and productive structure as well as a mobility infrastructure to connect the site with nearby cities, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed water city of Xitang.


The name Blue Loop is derived from the close connection with the water.


The Blue Loop will connect three different ecosystems integrated into the city: Italy-City, an Italian-style city with a predominantly residential character reminiscent of the spatiality of Italian city centres, an Innovation Valley with administrative structures, offices, research centres and universities, and "Energia", a centre for the production of food and for the generation of energy from renewable sources, linked to hydroponic agricultural crops.


Blue Loop Italy-City: The qualities of urban life combined in one place.


The city is organised on a total area of 2,000.000 square metres in four districts that run from east to west and have different population and building densities: "Marina", inspired by contemporary Italian architecture, "Lungo Lago", characterised by a series of porticoes that hark back to a historical Italian typology, "Città Vecchia", a floating district connected by a blue network of canals and squares, and "Laguna", where the natural environment will merge completely with the man-made landscape in a green urban logic.


Holidays on your doorstep: Everything is within reach.


Conceived as a water city and inspired by Chinese tradition, Italy-City contains elements that are characteristic of historic Italian urban settlements - with a particular focus on green spaces and public areas. As a logical consequence of the planning, water plays the main role, allowing people to move around and interact in the new city: a dense new network with several navigable canals provides the ideal link between the city and nearby Lake Fenhu - and thus a connection between infrastructure and landscape.


Blue Loop Innovation Valley: A place to build and experience the future.


Innovation Valley is conceived as a new centre of scientific excellence, a large, modern, international district, an environment of knowledge and sustainable growth open to all who want to innovate, research or study, creating an important space for the area in a strategic location in northern China. Innovation Valley will also test new models of sustainable mobility, using only electric, self-driving and shared vehicles.


Blue Loop Energia: Here, innovation is used to support the circular economy.


Energia combines a waste-to-energy plant of over 250,000 square metres with an experimental agricultural centre of around 300,000 square metres, creating a unique model of contemporary infrastructure that is integrated into the landscape and urban dynamics and aims to minimise emissions into the environment.


This is also part of this city: Chinese tradition against an Italian backdrop.

All pictures: ©  Studio Pininfarina Architecture


Originally written by Barbara Jahn

Italy Meets China
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