Transforming a military airbase into landmark city complex

Hong Kong architect 10 Design has won an international design contest to redevelop a 24 hectare site in Nanjing into a mega mixed-use development as part of an ambitious transformation of a former military airbase.

Led by partners Chin Yong Ng and Lukasz Wawrzenczyk, the project features three interconnecting buildings linked by a sunken street, incorporating office, retail, and cultural spaces. It will also house two new metro stations.

Adjacent to a Chinese history museum on one side and a shopping mall on the other, the complex will run parallel to the remaining runway at Dajiaochang airport, which has been kept in its original form as a historic feature. The site was the city’s main airport until 1997 and a military airbase until 2015.

Chin and Wawrzenczyk explained the central theme was to echo the historic past of the former capital of China, while reflecting the future aspirations of the bustling city, home to close to 9 million people.

Central skylights with hallmark trees are placed across the buildings to bring natural light into the deeper levels. Atop each building, a fully accessible rooftop garden will connect the lower floors with the outdoor space, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior throughout the multi-use destination.

Sustainable features include a water plaza which collects water, a solar energy production area on the roof which generates energy to cool the building during the summer and a green environment so that plants can introduce purified air.

The runway will be enlivened throughout the year with cultural activities, providing an attractive public space for both the tenants of the development and the broader community.