Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts District Master Plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Winner: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Award: Honor Award for Urban Design
What makes Beijing a unique city lies in its time honored history which cannot be separated from Tianqiao – the Bridge of Heaven. Old Tianqiao was once a bustling hub of cultural activities and the cradle of folk arts traditions of opera and tea houses. However, China’s rapid urbanization is encroaching on and radically diminishing its cultural landscapes. The Tianqiao Performing Arts District intends to re-establish the cultural heart of this Capital City with a new collection of modern and traditional performance venues that respect its sensitive, World Heritage context. Creating both a community resource and a signature destination, the walkable District will significantly enhance the neighborhood’s tradition of providing spaces for artistic expression, which range from fortune and storytelling and variety shows to acrobatics and full-on operatic performances, within a set of richly articulated public spaces. The site also occupies a prominent position between the national cultural relics of the Temple of Heaven and the Temple of Agriculture. The urban farm, first of its kind in scale and goals, sets a new standard in modern, ecological and urban agricultural living, and serves as a model for future development throughout China. Showcasing modern advances in agriculture, high speed rail, and sustainability, this food production destination will be a monumental amenity for the community. This, forming an ensemble with the landmark Tianqiao Theater, National Ballet of China, Tianqiao Acrobatic Theater, and China Opera and Dance Drama Theater will all together the District will establish China’s version of “Broadway” in Beijing.