Rapid urbanization is encroaching upon and radically diminishing China’s cultural landscape, and Beijing is particularly at risk. With more than 3,000 years of performing arts culture, this thriving metropolis has long been home to China’s most elegant and ancient art form.
The Tianqiao Performing Arts District Master Plan intends to re-establish the city’s cultural heart with a new collection of modern and traditional performance venues that respect the area’s World Heritage context. Serving as both a community resource and a signature destination, the walkable district will significantly enhance the neighborhood’s tradition of providing opportunities for artistic expression. Richly articulated public spaces will serve as the ideal setting for a wide range of activities, from fortune telling and variety shows to full-fledged operatic performances. In this vibrant district, new and old will combine to establish China’s version of “Broadway” in Beijing.
The site occupies a prominent position between the national relics of the Temple of Heaven and the Temple of Agriculture. In response, SOM’s plan proposes an urban farm that is the first of its kind in scale and goals. Showcasing modern advances in agriculture, sustainability, and high-speed rail, this hub for food production will be a vital amenity for residents. The farm will set a new standard in urban, ecological living and will serve as a model for future development throughout China.