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Harbour City | Dalian, China

studio LFA designed the Harbour City Project with a variety of spaces configured for diverse uses compose along with the various buildings in the Dalian Vanke’s Harbour City master plan. Each space is specialized and purposeful. Careful attention has been given to their individual design, their relationship with adjacent buildings and their connection to other spaces. Streets and pathways of various sorts are also viewed as spaces of a linear sort. They are regarded beyond their utility as means

of displacement and they are meticulously dimensioned and framed to become effective stages for social interaction.

A most distinctive and key feature of this proposal is its public core. It provides a signature experience to showcase the site’s urban essence intended to make Harbour City a preeminent address of prestige in the Liaoning Province.

Parks and squares extend a welcome gesture to visitors and Harbour City in general. Semipublic spaces are points of encounter for residents and visitors and serve as green curtains drawn along busier arterials, which enhance the feeling of privacy on the site.

The Public Spaces, which permeate the site and frame each building, are designed, not as residual “breathing space”, but as protagonist spaces each with a distinctive feel and configuration intended to provide a proper setting for communal interaction and neighborly conviviality. A great variety of spatial qualities is provided covering a broad range of types from grand and public to quaint and private; from loose and permeable to framed and formal. Also a variety of uses are explored encompassing, passive, minimally amenities, active and civic.

The apportionment of the site’s program into its component blocks allows for a practical and orderly implementation of the assigned program, which achieves a poised balance of various land uses along and across a broad assortment of building and spatial types. The variety is intended to embrace a complete set of experiences for residents and visitors alike.

Development, which intends to foster quality of life, must be highly attuned to the human scale. The preeminent scaling used in Dalian Vanke’s Harbour City is aimed at facilitating walkability throughout the site. While automobiles and motorized transport are essentially inevitable these days, it is still possible to provide for the daily needs of residents within the immediate proximity of their place of residence allowing them to walk back and forth and in so doing providing them with an opportunity to partake in the social and cultural life of their community. Walkable design is accomplished by regarding carefully the 400m distance that humans can comfortably walk. The walking zone of comfort is used to distribute amenities and conveniences throughout the site. The next incremental scale used in this project establishes zones of proximity awareness. Diverse landmarks and design features are interspersed within these 200m radii in order to achieve the familiarity and identifiability so characteristic of the best urban design. Ultimately, it is the achievement of a sense of belonging that transforms a place of residence into a neighborhood; spaces must be not only physically comfortable but also emotionally comfortable, that desired relationship of familiarity is achieved by properly addressing the proximity awareness scale. The human eye allows objects to come into clear focus at approximately 100m. This is the most intimate scale at which urban design can work effectively to provide the necessary pedestrian activity.

The experiential richness of the site is carefully arranged by providing signature buildings or architectural gestures capping the view corridors. Each of these civic gestures plays a key role in orienting and embellishing the procession through Dalian Vanke’s Harbour City.

Harbour City represents the latest effort between studio LFA in association with Plus Urbia for Vanke’s development along with a team of local and international consultants.

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