David Baker Architects

U.C. BERKELEY INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIO

China (Work)shop


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In 2007 David Baker was a visiting professor at U.C. Berkeley, co-teaching with College of Environmental Design Dean Harrison Fraker and other Cal faculty. The China Studio, an interdisciplinary course focused on a new sustainable urban development in China, brought together the college's many disciplines: architecture, landscape architecture, planning, and urban design. Their challenge: devise a green, transit-oriented development connecting Jiaxing's historic center to a new high-speed rail station. In February, the group travelled to China, where they met up with architecture students and professors from Shanghai's Tongji University College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Together they visited Jiaxing to research and refine the plan, which involves conceptualizing the station as well as the new transit district. "It's an amazingly complex project," says David. "They're designing a new neighborhood for more than one million people." The proposal includes sustainable housing and commercial space, a green pedestrian and bike path system, and a strategy to biodynamically restore the polluted ancient canal system. "What's exciting about this, compared to a standard academic studio, is that since the Jiaxing Planning Department is an actual client, some of the students' concepts will be realized," David says.