Barcelona-based has won an international competition for its design of a mixed-use, self-sufficient community in China’s Xiong’an New Area. Presented as a model for sustainable urban growth, the project champions local energy production, food production, energy efficiency and material reuse. The tech-forward proposal also takes the needs of a post-COVID-19 era and growing work-from-home trend in account by designing for comfortable telework spaces in all residences.

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rendering of apartment complex built from timber

Established in April 2017, China’s Xiong’an New Area was created as a development hub for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic triangle. Guallart Architects’ winning proposal for a mixed-use community is part of a scheme to raise the cachet of Xiong’an New Area and provide a post-COVID model that could be implemented in different cities around the world.

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rendering of grocery store with fresh produce in a timber building
rendering of person working at desk in wood-lined apartment

“We cannot continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened,” Guallart Architects said. “Our proposal stem from the need to provide solutions to the various crises that are taking place in our planet at the same time, in order to create a new urban life based in the circular bioeconomy that will empower cities and communities.” At the heart of the proposal is self-sufficiency; residents would produce resources locally while staying connected globally.

rendering of rooftop greenhouse
rendering of timber apartment building with south-facing terraces

The mixed-use development would consist of four city blocks with buildings constructed with mass timber and passive design solutions. In addition to a mix of residential typologies, the community would include office spaces, recreational areas, retail, a supermarket, a kindergarten, an administrative center, a fire station and other communal facilities. All buildings would be topped with greenhouses to produce food for daily consumption as well as rooftop solar panels. On the ground floor, the architects have included small co-working factories equipped with 3D-printers and rapid prototyping machines for providing everyday items. All apartments would come with telework spaces, 5G networks and large south-facing terraces.

Images via Guallart Architects

aerial rendering of community made of timber buildings all topped with solar panels