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Located on the banks of the Han River, the city of An’Kang is a medium-sized settlement about a three-hour drive south of Xi’an — the ancient capital of China — and just past the Qinglin mountains, the mountain range that is commonly considered the natural boundary between northern and southern China.

To protect the region’s many water resources from contamination, most of the industries have been relocated elsewhere. This follows the ancient — but still valid — planning principle of 南水北调 (nan shui bei diao), meaning that southern China should provide water resources for the drier North. We were commissioned to redesign a centrally located area of 290 hectares that was developed by the local metalworks industry in the past.




2018, Commission


with Between Studio



An'Kang, Shanxi, China



290 hectares


Design team

Daniele Baratelli, Yu Jing 余净, Wei Lin 魏林, Chen Jing 陈静, Elena Ruberto




The site presented many interesting features such as old industrial buildings and workers’ residences (mostly concrete or brick structures), a riverside park with the oldest Pagoda of the town, and the city’s newly built museum.






Our design creates a cozy and vibrant downtown through a careful urban regeneration that is well aware of the past and seeks to preserve its memory. All the built environment has been analyzed so that road enlargements will not demolish any relevant existing architecture. Industrial sheds will be reconverted into spaces for culture or business. Other plots will be developed following mixed-use and low-rise principles, using facade materials—such as light-color brick or stone—that will create a continuity with the industrial past.







The design also proposes an improvement of the slow-mobility system by adding a pedestrian and bicycle lane extension to the current bridge.






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