The visuals of Unicorn Island Master Plan, a project carried out by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), made an appearance for the first time on January 15, 2020. The 67-hectare (670,000-square-metre) Unicorn Island is situated in the capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu, China.
The start-up exhibition and conference centre is the first building within Chengdu's Unicorn Island master plan to be nearing completion.
With China being the home to one third of the world’s technology start-ups valued at over a billion US dollars - termed ‘unicorn companies’, Chengdu is the centre for computer chips. Chengdu has gained excellence in providing computer chips for half the world’s laptops and is a leading producer of mobile computing hardware.
Tianfu New Area is being developed as an ecologically sustainable civic, business and residential centre for China’s technology and research sectors.
Zaha Hadid Architects' Unicorn Island master plan within this area will foster the continued growth of China’s digital economy, creating living and working environments for the companies.
Inspired by the region’s historical natural engineering projects, the design of Unicorn Island creates a mixed-use masterplan for 70,000 researchers, office staff, residents and visitors. "Constructed 2,300 years ago to the northwest of Chengdu, the nearby Dujiangyan irrigation system on the Min River was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. This ancient water management system deployed the river’s natural forces to irrigate the Chengdu plain, creating some of the most productive agricultural lands in China and protecting the region from flooding," added the studio.
As the studio highlights, contemporary hydraulic engineering is also re-establishing the wetlands of the Tianfu New Area as part of a comprehensive ecological project that serves as water conservation, flood control, and recreation area. Putting inputs of the environmental principles of Dujiangyan’s historic irrigation system, the Zaha Hadid Architecture firm has designed the Tianfu New Area to re-establish its natural wetlands.
Unicorn Island’s parkland design incorporates green civic spaces, water conservation, and enhanced connectivity to create its living and working environments suited for improved wellbeing of its inhabitants.
The integrated clusters of buildings designed, surround the Unicorn Island’s central plaza and metro station. ZHA added, “The height and composition of each cluster will be established organically over the lifetime of the development; directly responding to varying requirements of function, programme, and efficiency to cultivate a diversity of interconnected buildings at a human scale that establishes a sense of community.”
Furthermore, natural water management systems will be incorporated within the new parklands bordering Xing Long Lake with innovative urban farming technologies to provide residents, workers and visitors with fresh, locally-grown produce.
The radial master plan enables accessibility of the entire island by a few minutes’ walk or bike ride.
To provide more visibility, the firm has also released the following video. It provides a glimpse of the extraordinary craftmanship going on inside!