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February 22nd, 2012
SOM Wins Master Plan Competition for Beijing Bohai Innovation City

The winning SOM plan leverages the economic and lifestyle assets of the Beijing-Tianjin corridor by centering the new environmentally friendly district along the high-speed-rail line linking the national capital to the port city of Tianjin. The city expansion will host 17.6 million square meters of mixed-use development, with a focus on providing a premier headquarters location for advanced industries in the dynamically growing Bohai Rim, a region that already accounts for more than a quarter of China’s GDP.

With half the 1,473-hectare site allocated to open space and nature, Beijing Bohai Innovation City builds upon SOM’s more than seven years of sustainable, high-performance city design throughout the region – from its award-winning green Beijing CBD expansion master plan to numerous projects in Tianjin, including the rapidly rising Yujiapu Financial District.

“Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit-oriented development at an unprecedented scale,” said project chief designer Thomas Hussey of SOM’s Chicago urban planning studio. “The new district will leverage the high-speed rail to bridge two major metropolitan areas and create a sustainable urban environment that concentrates walkable, compact densities around transit stations, while still preserving existing agriculture and green space.”

The client commented on the winning design scheme in a written statement, “SOM has designed a human and family-oriented mixed-use urban community within an environmentally friendly framework to attract talented people and forward-thinking Chinese and international firms that want to position themselves in the same way.”

In addition to setting specific and aggressive goals for water, energy, waste, renewable energy and building design efficiency, the winning design scheme builds upon landscape design firm Turenscape’s proposed central wetland park by calling for functional environmental systems to filter and clean storm water before returning it to adjoining rivers.

“This project underlines China’s commitment to transit-based and environmentally sensitive planning. There is tremendous potential here, and we would like to work with the District Government, Development Company and other stakeholders to further define the character of the city and tailor it to meet the needs and desires of the people and industries that will make Beijing Bohai Innovation City a national model for the country’s next generation of satellite city development,” said SOM global planning partner Philip J. Enquist.

The master plan is designed with a central business district organized around a high speed train station and five distinct neighborhoods offering diverse housing, education, shopping and work destinations. It modifies the street grid to incorporate existing road alignments while enhancing connectivity to the high speed rail station and creating special view corridors to landmark developments.

SOM’s Beijing Bohai Innovation City concept emerged from the competition for “Beijing Bohai Rim Advanced Business Park” held jointly by Beijing Tongzhou District Taihu High End Headquarters Construction Management Committee and Beijing Xinghu Investment and Development Co. Ltd.

The plan also provides an advanced multi-modal transportation network highlighted by the city’s close proximity to the existing capital airport and a potential new international airport south of Beijing. By uniting high-speed rail with metro lines, bus rapid transit, local streetcar and a state-of-the-art electric car fleet, the plan enables 80 percent of the city’s personal transportation to be by transit, walking and bicycling. Combined with pedestrian and bicycle friendly street design, this network conveniently connects residents to neighboring workplaces, schools and cultural amenities along green streets and corridors.

About SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban-planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,500 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award–in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.

More information can be found at www.som.com .