INTERNATIONAL GLIMPSES

Selected from entrants by a jury of nine experts and the general public, Heller Manus will now develop their plans for 14.78 sq. kilometres of the city incorporating waterfront and transit-oriented development with a ferry terminal and a variety of urban land uses.

The project design is expected to take a further year to complete, with ten years to implement. Once complete, the two combined axes will provide a new urban centre for Guangzhou. The overall project is a collaboration led by Heller Manus with SWA Group and AECOM for the Southern axis, and Callison and Simon & Associates for the Northern axis project. The Chinese associate team is from Shanghai Concept Engineering Consulting. The Heller Manus concept was chosen for its balance of growth with sustainability and preservation, while providing amenities for a better lifestyle. In addition, attention was given to the plan’s integration of traditional Lingnan culture, prevalent throughout Guangzhou and parts of southern China, in the design. “Lingnan culture encourages the harmonious integration of nature with the city environment along with innovative garden design,” said Taylor Manus, marketing coordinator at Heller Manus. “the key concept of our master plan is organised around a major greenbelt axis, creating an eco-corridor between the TV tower on the north end and the Pearl River on the south end. This major public green space will give those living in the city the opportunity to connect with nature and provide a variety of recreational uses. In addition, we have created an overall design concept organising buildings around landscaped courtyards.”

The Southern axis project is comprehensive, replacing low-density housing schemes with high-density schemes, adding commercial, government and civic offices, mixed-use premises, education and research spaces, retail, entertainment, hospitals, and transportation facilities. Special features include a TV tower, sports parks, aquarium, hotel, ferry terminal, and transit-oriented development with a light rail system.

Controversial skyscraper project gets nod
Russia’s natural-gas exporter, OAO Gazprom, has won final approval from the Governor of the city of St. Petersburg to build what may become Europe’s tallest skyscraper, overcoming objections from local residents and UNESCO.
The Governor, Valentina Matviyenko, sighed a decree on October 6, allowing the construction of a twisting, 77-storey glass-clad tower near the Neva River for the state energy undertaking Gazprom in the city centre.  She said the 400-metre-tall structure, called the Okhta Centre, would be an “architectural masterpiece that future generations will be proud of.”

Critics of the building projects however say it will spoil the city’s spire-and-bridge skyline, much of it built in the 18th and 19th centuries. UNESCO warned in August that St Peterburg’s historic city centre, more than 300 years old, might be removed from the World Heritage Site list if the skyscraper is built.

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