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Building upon success. How do you build an international center that will encourage regional growth? By using the principles from one of the most successful and highly regarded urban planning projects. By taking the best ideas and expanding them, evolving and tailoring the details to fit the unique needs of the community.
The master plan for the new International Financial Center (IFC) is part of a larger new regional master plan for the peninsula formed by the Haihe River. The original six-block site was consolidated into two blocks to create a multi-level pedestrian environment that sits above coordinated parking and service levels and connects to transit and high-speed rail. The design principles of Rockefeller Center were employed to create a central place of activity that is the major focus of pedestrian circulation and connects seamlessly to the surrounding street network and also sets up the logic of the proposed building massing. The project is on 10 acres of land and the build-out will add 10 million square feet to the new city.
The vision rests on employing some of the ageless valued elements of Rockefeller Center that have made it so internationally respected and loved, and that coincides with many of the opportunities presented by the International Financial Center in Tainjin. Like Rockefeller Center, the design proposes a multi-level solution that vertically separates coordinated parking and services levels from a seamless pedestrian framework that integrates mass transit, retail, cultural facilities and entrances to the office towers and is focused on a beautifully scaled central public place that establishes the identity of the entire development. The vision also includes recognition of the larger context and proposes a river-to-river connection that employs the surrounding block configuration and proposed park system to the north as elements to be integrated into the IFC. Special focus is given to the central plaza that, while located at the level of the underground transit concourse, is designed to be very visible and accessible from the upper levels.
The pre-planned high-speed rail, the associated subway train service and the below-grade parking and service loop comprise the main concourse level from which each element of the pedestrian experience – from first-time visitors to regular users – is established. The major buildings, each having a street address, drop-off and access to parking, have double-volume entry lobbies accessed from both the concourse and street level. The design centers on the major public open space accessed from all points on the concourse level which is seen and is easily accessible from above in addition providing a setting for the signature building of the whole district. A major focus of the design is to enable a gentle and barely noticeable descent from the street to the concourse level and to the central plaza. The design also includes an “Energy Center” focused on regenerating and sustainable modalities and was employed to provide additional open space to the plan.