Environmental Design in China

Environmental Design in China
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Environmental design in China

A new venture by GK Sekkei

Kazumasa Minami

GK Sekkei Inc. began to work on the landscape design project in the Central District of Shenzhen in 1997, followed by the Renminnan District Redevelopment Project, Guangzhou Convention Center Sign System Project, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Sign System Project, Redevelopment Project of the Dashalan District in Beijing, the interior and landscape design for the Tianjin Library, and the showroom design of the Haier Head Office in Qingdao.  Some of these projects have already been completed and are highly reputed.  These projects were commissioned to GK Sekkei as a result of winning many international design competitions.  The following is a report on some of these recent international competitions in China.



Renminnan District Redevelopment Project in Shenzhen: A total design was made considering harmony between newly built streets and plazas and old buildings in the area.


Competition of Beijing Olympic Green Concept Planning for Environmental Facilities


GK Sekkei joint group won the Special Award! 

The Beijing Olympic Games will be held in August of 2008.  The Planning Committee of Beijing, commissioned by the Chinese government, organized the international competition of Beijing Olympic Green Concept Planning for Environmental Facilities that covers an area of 1159ha.  The deadline of the competition was on January 18 of 2006.  Twenty-six companies were selected from among more than 2000 entries.  In March 2006, the joint design proposal by GK Sekkei, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design & Research, and Beijing Jiang Wang won the Special Award.  Besides this Special Award, there were two First Award and three Second Award winners.  The Beijing Olympic Green is located in the north of the Beijing Central Axis Line, and forms the historical heritage line connecting the Palace, Tiananmen, and Tiantai Park.  The Olympic Green will be the center of the areas where Olympic games are held.  The most important facilities for the games, such as the Main National Stadium, National Swimming Center, and Convention Center are located nearby.  The Olympic Green will become an important historical landmark and will be remembered by the citizens long after the Olympics.

The prospectus:

In conjunction with the Olympic slogan “One world-One Dream” and the key concept of “Balance and Integration,” the following themes were conceived:.


Harmony between history and future

The Olympic Green will become a new threshold of Beijing and will become a legacy for the nation’s future.  Its design must reflect the philosophical heritage from the past and offer a strong message towards the future.

-Environment that helps visitors imagine China’s 5000-year history.

-Expression of Technology that reflects innovativeness of China at present-Realization of an ecology-oriented urban environment


International Exchange Device

The Olympic Green will be a huge stage created to encourage people with different languages and cultures to interact.  There will be facilities and instruments of human scale to help enhance the values of respective areas and to support the activities of people who gather here.

- Human-oriented universal functions

- Catalyst to encourage interaction among people

In accordance with the above design concept, the entire landscape plan was prepared.  The street along the Central Axis, plazas, information booths, restrooms, kiosks, information poles, street furniture, and signboards were designed.  The Beijing Institute of Architectural Design & Research was in charge of representing Chinese history and culture, while GK Sekkei took responsibility for the main design concept, presenting China’s innovativeness, ecological methodology, and the whole system for creation.  Beijing Jiang Wang was engaged in the coordination of the two agencies from the two countries including translation between Chinese and Japanese.

The basic designing for the whole project is in progress at the moment. An approval for releasing the result of competition to the public was granted when Mr. Zhang Guo, Vice Director of the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design & Research officially handed the certificate to GK.  The official certificate of the award arrived only on May 31, two months after the competition result was announced in March due to difficult political problems between the two countries.  Under such circumstances, GK Sekkei became the first Japanese company to win the Special Award in this competition for designing facilities for the Beijing Olympics.

2010 Shanghai Expo Central Park Design Competition 

At the end of April 2006, the opening of this international competition was announced. GK Sekkei applied for it in partnership with Shanghai Tongji University, and a landscape design firm from Germany.  The GK consortium was selected as one of the eight finalists and signed a contract with the organizer.  An interim presentation was held on May 23, followed by the final presentation on June 22, and now we are waiting for the final result.  World class architects and landscape design firms from around the world always enter such competitions in China. This tendency is expected to continue at least until the year 2010.


Tianjin City Hai He Jizhao Bridge Competition: Proposal to consider a bridge as a new device for cities in the 21st century.

Tianjin City Hai He Jizhao Bridge Competition 

This is a competition dealing with the 250-meter-long bridge over the Hai He river that runs through the city center of Tianjin.  Four companies from Japan, Germany, Canada and Spain were nominated to enter.  The city of Tianjin is located 200 kilometers south of Beijing.  Investment is being accumulated as a part of the central government’s policy to develop the city into a large business center, after Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen.  The renovation of Tianjin railway station and surrounding areas began soon after the construction of the express railway connecting it with Beijing in one hour was completed.  The new Jizhao Bridge will become an important symbol of the city redevelopment project when completed. The proposal by GK Sekkei is to create a double deck bridge to allow the upper deck for through traffic and the lower deck for bicycles and other slow-speed local traffic.  Pedestrians use the special path that overhangs above the river in between the two decks.  This path will also have a mini theater and capsule type showcases in which local businesses can put up advertisements fees of which will cover the maintenance costs of the bridge.  This bridge will not only serve as a symbol of Tianjin of the 21st century, but as a new business model as well.  This proposal was chosen as the final candidate and GK Sekkei signed the copyright contract with the city.  The location of the bridge and the timing of the construction are under examination.


Meaning of competition for GK Sekkei 

Backed by the 53-year history of the GK Design Group and its world-class brand value, GK Sekkei is fighting tough battles with other design firms of the world in the Chinese design market.  Winning difficult competitions will certainly bring the company and its staff higher competence in presentation, design, and communication skills.  During our initial period GK Design led by Chairperson Ekuan was an ever-winning creation group.  It is a mission for the next generation staff to keep winning in domestic and international competitions to make an even stronger appeal as a world-class brand design firm.  Projects in China sometimes come with certain risks.  We need to make bold yet elaborate researches, and develop our judgment to find good clients to work with.Kazumasa Minami, vice-president, GK Sekkei19GK Report