Zaha Hadid Architects’ vision for Chengdu’s “Unicorn Island” is grand. Yet the Start-Up exhibition and conference center, the first building part of the 67-hectare masterplan, is nearing completion. As China’s economy evolves from traditional industries to technology-based organizations, Chengdu is developing as an ecologically sustainable business and residential center for technology and research sectors. Unicorn Island will foster the growth of China’s digital economy by creating living and working environments for both local and international companies.
As China is home to a third of the world’s technology startups valued at over $1 billion USD, referred to as “unicorn companies,” the multi-purpose masterplan will accommodate up to 70,000 researchers, office staff, residents and visitors. The radial design allows the entire island to be accessible by walk or bike ride, with buildings centered around a plaza and metro station.
Driven by Chengdu’s proximity to the Dujiangyan irrigation system on the Min river, Unicorn Island’s parkland design integrates green areas and wetlands to improve the wellbeing of its inhabitants. New innovations in urban farming technologies will provide residents, workers and visitors alike with locally-grown produce. Water conservation and principles of connectivity are intertwined with the masterplan in order to establish healthier living and working environments.
Take a closer look at Unicorn Island in the renders above. For more information on the firm’s past and future projects, head over to Zaha Hadid Architects’ website.