City by the highway

18 km diverse urban landscape


Inbo and Felixx made a plan for the expansion of Hangzhou, along the 18 km long highway that was built between the airport and the centre. Because the highway is built on columns, it is a very interesting place to do research on the possibility of creating a diverse urban landscape, by making different green connections to the road.  

Hangzhou is one of the most beautiful cities in China. In the middle of the city lies a large lake in a mountain landscape, an important tourist attraction. With the establishment of head offices of important IT companies such as Alibaba, the city is also an important economic location. 

The airport is rapidly being expanded. On the edge of the centre has been a G20 summit and the Asian Games are planned to be organised there. That is why the past years a new highway has been constructed between the airport and the city. For this purpose, the government recently wrote a competition between 4 renowned urban development companies to do research on how the highway can be used for further urbanization. 

The team, Felixx and Inbo, proposed to use the space around the motorway as a buffer and as user area at the same time. By ‘wrapping’ the motorway in an structure of vegetated lotus flower and by using the space below the motorway as usable parks, the highway will become part of the urban landscape and the surrounding cities will get their own identity, based on existing structures. 

For example, an existing horticultural community is urbanized with urban-farming towers, on which residents can grow their own vegetables; an existing industrial estate will have a border of buildings, with showrooms, labs and offices; city blocks are planned with a city park around the motorway. Around the Asian Games areas, the 'highrise new centre' is planned with a 24hrs sports park under the highway, lit by PV cells built into the motorway. 

In this plan, the motorway becomes an attractive part of a special and green metropolis that fits the image of Hangzhou. 

More information: Tako Postma, Mark Dekker, Joris van Loenhout