SOM Wins Nanjing Waterfront Redevelopment Design

Transforming two kilometers of downtown Yangtze River edge

Oct 14, 2011, 09:00 ET from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has been selected by Beijing-based MCC Real Estate Co. LTD to design a multi-district redevelopment of Nanjing's Yangtze riverfront that will bring modern urban living, commerce and tourism to a long-forgotten two-kilometer central waterfront area between the river levee and the old city wall of the historic Chinese city. The winning plan will give Nanjing a dynamic new riverfront park and a dramatic new face to the world.

SOM's city design concept master plan and its global-landmark architecture were selected in the MCC's international collection of schemes to create a Nanjing Xiaguan Riverfront area of new neighborhoods, shopping districts and corporate skyscrapers that will embody a striking new identity for Nanjing and create a world-class mixed-use cityscape for its people.

The SOM plan is designed to begin the ambitious, riverfront redevelopment with a compact and walkable Phase One development strategy that will revitalize the Dama Road and Tianbaoli area and establish a new framework of well-scaled streets, urban development blocks, tree-lined streetscapes and public plazas that will reconnect the city and its people to the Yangtze River.  The Dama Road District will be the hub of New Nanjing's nightlife, and its renovated colonial-era buildings will house galleries and boutique retail.

The chairman of MCC Real Estate, a subsidiary of state-owned Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd., Hou Baoxu said, "The competition presented many good ideas from all the firms. In addition to their exciting concepts, we chose SOM because of its history of getting large and complex projects like Nanjing Xiaguan built."

SOM global city design partner Philip Enquist said, "We are delighted to be working with MCC Real Estate and the city officials of Nanjing to help move this great historic city to the forefront as an important business, tourism and quality-of-life leader in the New China.  We are flattered that they have accepted our concepts for a dramatic new signature riverfront."

Harmonizing heritage and future is a design principle of Nanjing Xiaguan. Preserved plane trees shade bustling sidewalks at the base of the global landmark Finance Plaza, while the towers of its sleek corporate headquarters are joined by the Cloud Walk sky bridge, a unique international tourist attraction.  The old power plant and railway buildings are renovated into hip, high-energy venues for fashion, lifestyle retail and restaurants. The old South Slip off the Yangtze will become a mixed-use loft residence, boutique hotel and amenity strip along the renovated shipping canal.

SOM Director Douglas Voigt said, "The core concept of the SOM plan for Nanjing Xiaguan is making connections. Connecting the city to the river. Connecting the best of urban living to nature. Connecting under–utilized land to value creation that will increase growth, tourism and prosperity. Connecting Nanjing's rich heritage with China's rising economy. "

Xiaguan Riverfront will be a collection of new neighborhoods. The SOM plan advocates a mix of uses at a variety of scales including an overall development strategy for the site, commercial hubs within each neighborhood, and a mix of uses within individual blocks and buildings. Eventually an enclosed walking street will weave through many of these neighborhoods, offering four seasons of convenient indoor-outdoor living in addition to views of the ever-changing Yangtze River.

The plan to transform the riverfront is based on dense, compact, mixed and sustainable neighborhoods and centered on the area's most important resource – water. Throughout the plan, water is used in innovative and interactive ways: along a series of unique, inter-connected canals and public open spaces, offering places to play in cleaned river water, as well as areas of increased habitat and ecological diversity.

As with all SOM urban plans, Nanjing Xiaguan is based on convenient access to transit, aiding bicycle-friendly design and walkability.

Chicago-based and Shanghai-based SOM urban planners have already begun work on the next round of detailed master planning, and they have started meeting with various Nanjing City government agencies to build a collaborative relationship that will get Phase One construction started quickly and the massive transformation project completed.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, urban planning, interior design, and engineering 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 1,400 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, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP