BEIJING — The Center for International Business Ethics (CIBE) in Beijing, Dynamic City Foundation, and Bentley Systems Inc. have announced that the project designed by the student team from the Architecture Department of Tsinghua University won top honors in the inaugural Future Cities China design competition.
The competition was open to all students studying architecture and engineering in institutions of higher education, but all essay submissions had to be in Chinese. The program challenged students to use their design skills, along with Bentley software, to provide a master plan for the sustainable university campus of tomorrow.
The goal was to create a campus that could serve as the cornerstone of a modern “green” Chinese city and help address the many challenges associated with complex, inner-city environments. Nearly 200 student teams from more than 70 universities submitted projects to the competition, which an independent panel of distinguished jurors narrowed to eight finalists.
The finalists, which represented Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, China Agricultural University, Harvard University, Jianghan University, Tsinghua University, and Xi’an Jiaotong University, competed in a three-day forum held August 24-26. The winning team receives an all-expense-paid, one-month internship at the U.S. headquarters of Bentley Systems in Exton, Pa.
“This was a wonderful competition, and I’m incredibly proud of all of the participants,” Dr. Liu Baocheng, director of CIBE in Beijing, said. “Of course, special recognition is due to the team from Tsinghua for its great work and extraordinarily creative master plan. I am proud to have been a part of this year’s Future Cities China program and eagerly look forward to next year’s competition.”
Dr. Jean-Baptiste Monnier, senior vice president, Bentley Asia-Pacific added: “The keen interest in this inaugural competition, as well as in the enrichment of China’s city environments facilitated by new and improved infrastructure, is reflected in the large number of high-quality submissions we received,” Monnier said. “I, too, congratulate the student team from Tsinghua University as well as all of the finalists on successfully completing this rigorous exercise and creating such innovative and imaginative projects. Each student who participated in the competition gained valuable knowledge and advanced their design skills, which will serve them well and provide them with a valuable competitive edge as they embark on careers in the infrastructure professions.”
The intensity of the competition and latitude for creativity were unprecedented, Meng Ning, a member of the winning Tsinghua student team of two, said. “We learned a great deal through this fresh and exciting experience, and I am extremely happy about the upcoming trip to Bentley Systems in the U.S. I’m sure the internship will be a great help to my future career, and I am truly thankful for this opportunity.”
Liu Yun, the second member of the Tsinghua team, added: “I am very happy that I was able to take part in such a tremendous experience. We were finally able to apply what we’ve learned to a real-world design challenge. Now I am looking forward to the internship with Bentley.”
The teams consisted of up to three students, plus a professor or infrastructure professional as mentor. Each team submitted a proposed conceptual master plan for the sustainable university campus with the following elements:
• A logistic concept for the public space of the Future Cities campus, including its connections to the surroundings and a basic understanding of the landscape
• A general massing study for the school’s architectural program
• An essay that describes the proposal’s core concept, how the campus relates to the surrounding area and infrastructure, and how the proposal is sustainable.
The project site, Shuang Hua Yuan, is an underdeveloped plot in the heart of Beijing. It is disconnected from the city by large arteries, yet accessible by public transportation. The heavy infrastructural lines increase the complexity of the site, dividing it into four plots, typical of post-industrial cities in China. Alternatively, the site offers an open and green area on the edge of the central business district.
The winning university campus design project, titled “School in Between,” cultivated an integrated or holistic approach to urban issues. In this design, the university is no longer the ivory tower. Rather, it assumes the role of intermediary for cultural exchange and provides space and facilities for the environment around it.
Second- and third-place honors went to the teams from Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture and Xi’an Jiaotong University, respectively. Each member of these two teams receives a one-month internship at a Bentley office in China.