Heller Manus Architects was awarded the contract to design the master plan for a crucial portion of Guangzhou’s growing metropolitan area. With a population of 10 million, Guangzhou is China’s third largest city and covers more than 3,720 square kilometers or nearly 1,450 square miles. Beating out several other entries, Heller Manus’ proposal was selected by a commission of nine jurors including notable planning and architectural experts in China.
Additionally, members of the Guangzhou public were asked to cast votes for their favorite design plan during a two week public viewing phase.
South Axis Plan
The South Axis master plan includes the design of 14.78 square kilometers, incorporating waterfront and transit oriented development with a ferry terminal, central government districts, and a variety of urban land uses. The Heller Manus concept was chosen for its balance of growth with sustainability and preservation, while promoting amenities for better livability. In addition, attention was given to the plan’s integration of traditional Lingnan culture, prevalent throughout Guangzhou and parts of Southern China, in the design.
Heller Manus also recently completed the design of the multi-functional, metropolitan master plan along Guangzhou’s Northern Axis. The entire downtown city center axis plan stretches southward over 11 kilometers from the main railway station at the north to the Pearl River at the south. These two areas, which cover more than 20 square kilometers or 8 square miles, comprise the entirety of a new urban core that will be under the direction of Heller Manus. The design team, lead by Jeffrey Heller, includes the SWA Group and AECOM for the Southern Axis and Callison and Simon & Associates for the Northern Axis project. The Chinese associate team is from Shanghai Concept Engineering Consulting.
North Axis Plan
Overall, Heller Manus creates an innovative approach to integrating public transit and pedestrian movement as an alternative to automotive options. With the direction of the Mayor of Guangzhou, Zhang Guangning, and the Guangzhou City Planning Department leaders, Heller Manus has established a model for the sustainability, livability, and growth of Guangzhou which will be a role model for China’s other major cities.
The guiding principles of this urban design include core elements of sustainability, an emphasis on using green space as both a connection to nature and as an organizing element of the overall plan, and a fundamental need to get people out of their cars, onto public transit, and encouraging pedestrian circulation.
With the addition of improved transportation facilities, including the introduction of a light rail system and a pedestrian-friendly park and street network, Heller Manus hopes to promote alternative means of getting around over that of vehicular use.
A major catalyst for these recent planning efforts is the upcoming Asian Games in November 2010 that will be hosted at the Tian He Sports Center, centrally located within this Guangzhou master plan area.
Guangzhou Master Plan (North & South)
Heller Manus Architects
Celebrating their 25th anniversary of practice in October of 2009, Heller Manus Architects is a nationally recognized architecture, design, and planning firm located in San Francisco, California. Their depth of experience encompasses a wide range of major new construction and historical remodel projects including residential, commercial, civic, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use, performance facilities, and retail and urban design plans. With their unique experience in difficult approvals situations, Heller Manus provides a tailored small-firm approach to the design and planning situation of each project. Always looking to expand the concept of building usage, Heller Manus has positively improved and engaged each building’s particular environment.