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Shanghai Old Town Master Plan
Winner - Gold
Designer: Ellen Lou & SOM Design Team - Director
Design Type: Re-Builds, Re-use & Restoration (Showing Before & After)
Company / Organization / School: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Team Members: Ellen Lou, Ted Yu, Athina Loumou & John Beutler
Old Town is Shanghai’s most historic and “Chinese” district, but it is run-down and its urban fabric is being erased by modern development. The City’s goal is to revitalize the area yet maintain its unique character. The master plan utilizes preservation, sensitively-designed new development, targeted public investments, and land use changes for revitalization and to preserve the essence of the Old Town. The plan largely preserves the compact and low urban form within the area bounded by the former wall. Moving potential development to dense transit-oriented areas outside the former wall retains total development capacity and creates a contrast with the low area. Three methods of preservation include Contextual Preservation by infilling new buildings, Selective Densification that redevelops distressed blocks, and Contrasting Preservation that protects essential elements of historic urban space - alleys and surrounding buildings - leaving areas between available for high density redevelopment. New industries like art, jewelry and fashion bring economic vitality, diversity and innovation while strengthening relationships with established areas elsewhere. Investments in transportation and amenities attract development and link the district to its context. Linear open spaces run through historic creek alignments and link historic sites. And a submerged freeway becomes a new linear park.