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Zhangjiakou sustainable projects for 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Valentino Pileggi, Francesco Serra, Fabrizia Parlani, Sara Ressia, Simone Vioglio, Matteo Ponsetti, Angelica Manfredini, Elena Maioglio

Zhangjiakou sustainable projects for 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Rel. Gustavo Ambrosini, Mauro Berta, Michele Bonino, Zhang Li, Liu Jian. Politecnico di Torino / Tsinghua university, School of architecture, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Restauro E Valorizzazione Del Patrimonio, 2015


The Tsinghua-Polito Joint Studio is a collaboration program with the goal to develop common activities in the area of higher education and research between the Department of Architecture and Design of Politecnico di Torino and the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University in Beijing.

With the first edition in 2008, the focus was on the post-event reuse of some sport venues of 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Joint Studio 2015, the fifth edition, is back on Chinese Olympic topics.

China is one winner candidate for 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The venues have been planned in Zhangjiakou, a popular skiing site located at 170 km north of Beijing, in Yanqing and in Beijing as well. The objective of the studio is to develop a design research on Olympics facilities as a long-term sustainability item, in terms of environment, economics and social impact. Eighteen students, between Chinese and Italians, have been worked together to design some alternative masterplans for Taizicheng Olympic Village, within Zhangjiakou venue. Some key items are: relationship among smart infrastructure systems and the new settlement; urban fabric concepts based on articulated street-houses sequence pattern; traditional courtyard dwellings re-invented; integration between the village and the surrounding landscape; re-use of housing infrastructure for post-event period.

Learning from China.

The Joint Studio has been a great opportunity for all of us to approach, even for a short time study period, one of the countries with the faster rate of economic growth and social transformation in the last few years. We had so many questions and doubts about the trend of this development. Is that the right direction for a fast growing country within the global scenario? Which aspects should be taken into account during such a rapid industrial and productive expansion? How important should be the questions about pollution and nature preservation?

We went there with the expectation to know if our doubts and questions were rightful. We found a country full of history and with a culture way different from ours. We have been amazed looking at traditional Chinese architecture living together with the brand new building and one the tallest skyscraper in the world. Likewise we didn't expect to see so much heterogeneous people -coming from so different economic and social level- sharing street-life in Beijing or Shanghai. It's been a great chance even because we had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Chinese students, in a continuous process of mutual and fruitful exchange of knowledge.

Reading Key.

From the beginning, our aim was to give some interpretations about Chinese cities and society, mostly coming out from observations during our direct experience. We were astonished by the large scale of cities such Beijing or Shanghai, in which several souls coexist: It's very common to notice crowded road full of people and typical smell, next to luxury shopping and commercial road (as Nanjing Road In Shanghai). One of the reason of this social contrast It's the unequal speed of economic development among social classes, that make economic disparity wider. This aspects, along with the fast demographic growth (between 1953 and 1996 Chinese population doubled, reaching of people) make the situation more dramatic and the process to a social equality arduous to reach. Therefore, in the background of economic globalization and the context of rapid urbanization. It's interesting to explore and understand deeply even the social progress of Chinese society related with cultural and demographic aspects. Our intent is to have a more a critical approach to understand the dramatic contraddictions that this rapid development bring with it.

Urban growth and social contrasts.

Aside from our first impressions about Chinese cities, it's useful to give a general overview about modernization of urban system in China.

The academic circle generally believes that China Is currently In a period of rapid urbanization. The Chinese Academy of Engineering anticipated that from 2005 to 2020, China's urbanization rate could increase by around 1% on an average annual basis, the urban population would grow by 326 million, and the urbanization level would reach 55%-60%. By the middle of the 211 century, when China develops into a moderately developed country, the urbanization rate will climb up to approximately 70%. Just to gauge the scale of this phenomenon, we'll try to give some scientific data taken from academic studies. Actually it's not easy to give a clear overview, because so many research institute estimated rate growth of China urban development In a different way. Then, those data differ conspicuously from institute to Institute. To summarize, while the most optimist widely believe that China's urbanization rate would reach 60% or even higher In 2020, approximately 70% In 2030, and an ultimate saturated rate of 85%, the neutral nevertheless anticipate an urbanization rate of 55% or more In 2020, approximately 65% in 2030, and an ultimate saturate rate of 70%. On the one hand, problems widely exist In the "Middle Income Trap" period, as In many other countries, including underemployment, the gap between the rich and the poor, housing shortage, traffic congestion, environmental pollution, and social unrest. On the other hand, it's a period of strategic opportunities including the optimization of the population distribution and urban layout, the transformation of the development mode, and the realization of the inclusive growth. During a period of rapid urbanization, such as all the other big countries historically, even China is always confronted with challenges from the coordinated rural-urban development For instance, over the past few years, the urbanization process of the migrant workers slowed down, the rural-urban development divide was widening, rural development elements constantly flew into the city, and the large-scale capital, after its entry to agriculture and rural areas, greatly influenced China. In the process of high-speed urbanization, those conflicts and problems will get intensified.

This sets off a new wave in urbanization studies among both the governmental organizations and the academic circle. While historically in China practically all cities lack analyses on the historical processes of physical changes, those new trend of studies about urban development have a strong influence on governmental strategies and analysis. Indeed, after the 2008 financial crisis, the Central Government incorporated urbanization into the nation's long term core strategies, by actively expanding domestic demands, to realize transitional development, to optimize population distribution and to promote coordinated rural-urban relations.

Struggle between modernity and tradition.

Certainly In Western countries, a common way of thinking used to Identify modernity with westernization and the paucity of knowledge about Chinese society and its history has always been a big problem for the cultural relationship between such different countries.

It's clear that In Europe the image of China is closely related to economic matters towards our colonialist tradition (formerly territorial colonialism, nowadays more cultural and economic).

It's even true that after XIX sec. crisis, China had to face several problems to become a modern country (as meant by Europeans). This process to modernization passed through a deep cultural revolution that brings with it a period of tough rejection towards its own traditional culture.

All too often, therefore, globalization matched with homogenization. This process brings to a Inevitable cultural uniformity. It nevertheless needs to be pointed out that this can apply to standards and production but it represent almost a historical crime in the field of cultural features. We must not confuse a critical internationalism with the Idea of global markets system.

Furthermore, those fast modifications seem to struggle with the cyclic view of the history, typical of the Asian cultures. Indeed in China, at least In the past, the measure of this cyclic time is regulated by universe and nature and especially in architectural field we can't note drastic stylistic changes In conception, as has happened continuously to western art and culture. The shape is more relevant then the idea of material authenticity: this is why it's very common to re-build historical monuments rather than preserve the original artefact. Idea diametrically opposed to our theory of historical value. For Instance, during the cultural revolution, as many cultural monuments, the main entrance of Tsinghua University campus was destroyed. But, in early 90s, it was rebuilt exactly in the original design. It's evident how a such approach to the past is different from our idea of history. Under the influence of western culture, the protection of historic buildings and cultural features now requires modern historical studies to be the basis of its analysis and evaluation, while the rapid disappearance of the historical environment will bring more straightforward difficulties to empirical studies.

Relators: Gustavo Ambrosini, Mauro Berta, Michele Bonino, Zhang Li, Liu Jian
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AO Design
U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
U Urbanistica > UL PVS Paesi in via di sviluppo
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Restauro E Valorizzazione Del Patrimonio
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4193



1.1 Past events: Nagano 1998

1.2 Past events: Torino 2006

1.3 Past events: Vancouver 2010

1.4 Beijing 2022


2.1 Beijing experience

2.2 Macro area analysis

2.3 Micro area analysis

2.4 Masterplan Competition:





2.5 Competition results


3.1 Winter Games: Experience and Learn

3.2 Architecture and mountain in China

3.3 Courtyard dwellings

3.4 Feng Shui and contemporary sustainability


4.1 Exhibition and review – Politecnico di Torino and Tsinghua University



4.4 General projects overview



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