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Nanchong University

Bordering a protected mountain ecosystem to the north of Nanchong’s main urban center, the plan for a university campus proposes a new vernacular urbanism through the lens of the surrounding natural landscape. The proposal for the campus seeks to challenge models of urban sprawl by responding to and amplifying the topography of the mountains, and developing the hydrology of local agricultural terraces in relation to the historic villages. Rooted deeply in the site’s ecological and cultural heritage, the campus restores, preserves, and activates the centuries-old agricultural terraces, placing the existing landscape of rice paddies and Mulberry orchards at the heart of a new system of eco-social greenways that support the rewilding of watersheds and inform the campus’s overall spatial organization.

Extending like fingers into five valleys, these eco-social landscapes connect the educational, research, and housing facilities that follow the topographic contour lines of the hillsides. Revealing near-constant views of the mountains throughout the campus, this clustered approach to development preserves open space while remaining interconnected through a matrix of covered pathways. Threaded delicately through the landscape, these covered walkways frame multiple scales of outdoor courtyards tailored to activate a diversity of public programming. By dissolving the orthogonal into the fractal, this holistic integration of landscape and architecture weaves the informal with the formal in order to reframe oppositions as opportunities where the city and countryside relate in symbiosis.

Nanchong City

Nanchong, China

Master plan, university, central park, commercial, housing, retail, culture

63,391 m² / 682,339 ft²
28,729 m² / 309,238 ft²
38,469 m² / 414,075 ft²

Competition, concept, first prize

Andrew Heid, Xianghui Kong, Chengliang Li, Yuedong Lin, Christopher Purpura

China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, ECOLAND, agenceTER

First prize

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