10 Design wins landmark redevelopment of Nanjing’s historic airport

Hong Kong-based architect 10 Design has won an international competition to redevelop 25 hectares of Dajiaochang, a former airport in the former Chinese capital of Nanjing. 

Three large buildings will house a mix of commercial and leisure facilities on the site, which was the city’s main airport up until 1997 and a military base until 2015.

The development will incorporate two new metro stations.

The news buildings are integrated with two metro stations

When first built, the airport was outside the city boundaries but urban growth has seen it absorbed into the southeastern Yuhuatai district, where it has been an obstacle for planners.

The transformation of the airport and the addition of two metro stations is intended to provide a nucleus for the New Town South High-speed Railway Station District, which will eventually cover 164 sq km, with a planned population of around 1.6 million.

10 Design has opted for the common strategy of echoing the past while gesturing towards the future.

The central street will have an intimate scale with cafes and street art

The past is invoked by a sunken street parallel to a 2.6km-long runway, which is being retained as a souvenir of the area’s former identity as a military base.

There will also be a museum of Chinese history, which may include exhibits of the former airport’s former incarnation as a battalion training ground during the Ming dynasty ("Da Jiao Chang" means "Big Training Ground").

The design style uses the contemporary palette of incorporated greenery and curved high-tech facades, here enhanced by swooping awnings over the sunken street.

The side of the development "facing the city" will have a more austere feel

Sustainable features include a water plaza which recycles rain, a solar energy production area on the roof, and extensive planting, which is de rigueur in contemporary Chinese civic schemes (see further reading).

The competition was organised by the China Building Centre in 2018.

A second was held for a "runway park", aimed at young designers.

This was won by four students from the city’s Southeast University with their "Yesterday once more" design, beating a second-place entry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology students.

Top image: The planned redevelopment of the airport, complete with retained runway. All images courtesy of 10 Design

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