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Clean, green and serene

Updated: 2023-10-16 08:53 ( China Daily )
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The exhibition MVRDV Green Factory runs until Dec 31 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. CHINA DAILY

Weng spoke of her affinity for Hangzhou's natural elegance, which she said represents Chinese aesthetics. However, despite the city's many advantages, she feels that it is still lacking in terms of contemporary urban culture.

By inviting dozens of internationally known artists, architects and scientists to Hangzhou for an intense two-day session, the aim of the event was to bring international vision, an open attitude and a wealth of resources to the city.

"We hope that the invitees will bring us new ideas, methods and references," Weng says, adding that in the future, forums and lectures will be hosted in the revamped spaces, and experts from all over the world will be invited to speak, to infuse new vitality into the city.

The two buildings unveiled to the public at the recent event are a fraction of the entire site. Once the remaining spaces are opened, Weng says, they will hopefully serve as a platform for young people.

"I hope that all our projects lay a foundation for the young, and that they will perceive this project as a platform they can use. It is my belief, and also the nature of history, that the young stand on the shoulders of their elders to reach even greater heights," Weng says.

Earlier this year, MVRDV won a competition to revamp Hangzhou's former oil refinery with plans to transform the industrial area into an art and science center. The project envisions the creation of office spaces, retail outlets and a variety of cultural experience spaces, including ones that celebrate the site's industrial heritage, set in greenery along the Grand Canal.

"We plan to cover everything in solar panels, to create a kind of solar energy park, and illustrate the transformation of energy from the fossil fuel to the post-fossil fuel era," Maas says.

"And with such an abundance of energy, we can light the park, and create spectacles for free. It's this kind of liberation that I would like to symbolize in the park," Maas adds.

Many other transformation projects are already underway in the industrial areas along the Grand Canal in Hangzhou under the aegis of internationally renowned architects including Kengo Kuma, Liu Jiakun and Ma Yansong, and architectural firms such as Herzog & de Meuron.

"The area is connected to the Grand Canal, right next to one of its branches. The Grand Canal has a significant impact on the surrounding region, so we are hoping to use these projects along it to establish Hangzhou as a model for future Asian cities," Weng says.

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