Urban Designer, Architect and Researcher

Central Business District Shenzhen 1st Prize Winner

International restricted competition

  • Site: Xiangmihu, Futian, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, 4.9 square kilometres, detailed urban design of 1.9 square kilometres

  • Status: July 2018 - ongoing

  • Client: Urban Planning, Land & Resources Commission of Shenzhen Municipality (Oceanic Administration of Shenzhen Municipality)

  • In colaboration with: Guallart Architects, BAD Ali Basbous, Yang Lei

Design a new model for the next generation of green cities in China. This was the objective in the competition organized by the Government of Shenzhen in which our project won First Prize and will become a reality in Shenzhen’s new urban centre. Our RootBoot Project is an example of how the cities of the future will be based on an ecological, dense and compact city where new technologies make the public space more human and natural. 

The new urbanization plan covers 2 million square metres where a new business centre will be developed including housing, offices, shops and services. A central park will be the meeting point, with an ecological corridor, with two large wooden platforms connecting the sea and the mountains, allowing a zone free of vehicles.

The iconic feature will be a 200-metre-high artificial mountain with a wooden façade that will house a convention centre and a hotel. In the new Central Business District we created an open and flexible mesh with a central park that allows us to build a high-density mixed-use city with housing, offices, commerce and services.

Our project proposes to rebuild the natural corridors, while we implant a strong urban program. The ecological corridor that connects the mountain and the sea will be possible through light platforms that allow passage over the great avenues and highways of Shenzhen. The RootBoot project is a foundational process that emerges from the earth as aerial roots and builds the city as a chain of intelligent urban blocks. 


Design Concept: RootBoot

RootBoot merges the structure of the traditional banyan tree with adventitiously growing aerial roots, with the concept of the Boot, or small application of blocks that is the origin of any computational process. It is a process that initiates an Open Chain of Urban Blocks that aims to redefine the idea of urbanity in Shenzhen and in the world. We use the RootBoot theory to identify the rooting components of the whole project that can overtime grow into a vibrant new urban district, and to identify how to start (boot) the rooting components, which forms the smart start-up model / process for a future urban district. It also reflects the fundamental urban development model to build an Eco Civilization based on the cultural idea on which Shenzhen was created: grow fast, be brave and invent the future.

Urbanity meets Nature

Our project is developed at the meeting point of the confluence of the most important economic axis of the city (East – West,) and the new ecological corridor that connects the mountain with the sea (North – South).
The meeting place will be the foundational place for this new district and materialized with a central square that contains pixelated buildings for culture and new distributed technologies. A building-mountain will literally build this crossing point between Urbanity and Nature and will contain the new congress center and a hotel.

The Internet of Cities

The central district is structured with a compact mesh with blocks perpendicular to the main avenue, defining a mixed-use neighborhood. The city is configured by urban layers so that at the street level there will only be pedestrian mobility, and new forms of intelligent transport, while all the mobility of private traffic and logistics occurs in the underground. The reinvention of the functioning of the ecological and intelligent city is carried out by applying the Internet model to the functioning of the layers of its anatomy.

The CBD Central Park - the RootBoot Plaza

The central square, is the true point of the crossing between the urban and the natural. That is why five buildings are defined, built as RootBoots from urban pixels and invaded by nature.
The artificial mountain of a height that reaches almost 200 meters, will contain all the program of audiences requested in the contest. This includes a large auditorium for 5,000 people, along with three smaller auditoriums and areas for events and exhibitions. On it will be a hotel for 600 people, which will have an area of restaurants, outdoor pool and gym. At the top of the artificial mountain there will be a viewpoint and a restaurant.
The building in front, to the north of the avenue, will be a media library, understood as a place of information storage of any format, open to citizens. A place of study and research.
The building located in the South West will be the foundational building of the district. It will be a laboratory for the future of cities, which will have exhibition and meeting areas and a workshop for the production and production of prototypes, which will be displayed inside and in the surrounding park.
The two buildings located to the south of the artificial mountain will be centers destined to the emerging technologies of the blockchain and the distributed technological.

The Human Scale

The new district will be built on a human scale. It can be walked and inhabited at low speed while people will be connected to the city and the world through information networks. The central avenue and the perpendicular streets will be places destined to the commerce, to the walk and to the events so that the street will be a place of encounter and social interaction.


New Ecological Leisure

The park of the Lake will be recycled to build a new generation urban park on the ruins of a theme park. It will be built with few changes in its layout to make it faster and easier. It will be dedicated to sport (with a tower that contains a club with multiple sports), children (with areas for education and ecological leisure and a tower with classrooms and hotel), and gastronomy (with areas for eco-crops, restaurant, eco-market and shops). The roller coaster will host drone races and a magic show of water, light and sound.

The Ecological Corridor

The mountain will be connected to the sea through an ecological corridor. To this end, large platforms with light structure will be built, which will allow crossing the six avenues that cut the continuity between sea and mountain. The platforms will allow the passage of people, bicycles and light vehicles and will have a flowery pergola and will grow trees through it.