Between May 27 and May 31 movingcities is invited by Adrian Blackwell (Assistant Professor at Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design | University of Toronto) to give a design workshop to 13 students in Beijing. Together with Xu Jian (Professor of Art History, Sichuan Polytechnic University), we will be looking closer, through a series of fieldtrips and programmatic interventions, into the Beijing’s peri-urban condition along the Northern section of Line13.

Beijing Line13

Line 13 | Beijing

A very good example is Beijing’s first suburban train line, line 13 on the railway network plan: a 42 km long light railway that forms a loop linking the northwestern corner of the city centre, at Xizhimen, to the northeastern corner in Dongzhimen. Firstly, it shows how the municipal authorities have had to adjust to the more open procedures of external partners (banks, real estate developers): a sign that the concept of governance has entered decision making process in the field of transportation planning. Secondly, it shows how the development of one line of the railway network has been initiated to follow, or even anticipate, the suburbanisation of the northern part of the Beijing conurbation, as the line serve fast-growing residential zones, especially Zhongguancun, Qinghe, Huilongguan, Shangdi, Beiyuan, Wangjin.
Jean-François Doulet, 1998

Ten years later, Line13 is more than operational, running as an elevated subway line cutting through large parts of the modern city. With Beijing’s attempts to spread its urban growth into a polycentric model, Line13 re-organizes this ambition; connecting nodes of polycentric development. Surrounding the line are zones where economical, sociological and cultural tensions co-exist. It is an uncanny testing ground for architecture and urbanism; areas where messy vitality meets obvious unity. It is unclear if these zones are close to completion. Despite its urban character as a line of movement, these zones are rural-urban sites, housing blocks, universities, office and business parks, golf courts, peri-urban environments, in-between zones, no-man’s land and wastelands subject to migratory middle-class movement.

Beijing & Line13 (orange)

Workshop | research, strategy and projection

By placing all its components in continuous variation, music itself becomes a superlinear system, a rhizome instead of a tree, and enters the service of a virtual cosmic continuum of which even holes, silences, ruptures, and breaks are a part.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

In this workshop we will look at Line 13 through the relations betweens two interlined conceptual poles: the line as a section or slice through an existing system, and the line as an overwriting of that fabric. The key tension is between the “line” and the linearity of the system as it confronts the heterotopic urbanism of the Beijing periphery. How do these two systems currently interact? How could they be altered to do so differently? Perhaps Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of superlinearity could be helpful, how can linearity be broken apart to render it superlinear, or super-connective instead of unidirectional?
Line13 superlinearity | from Xierqi till Beiyuan
The workshop focuses on the northern part of Line13. the area between Longze and Beiyuan. After an introduction and a field trip, analyses will be made in terms of its existing sections, programs, formal and informal uses and perceived density. Subsequently three programs will be introduced with the objective to strengthen the northern section of the circular line. These programs will be projected upon the existing area, with both a focus on the creation of an overall masterplan as well as zooming in on specific locations.

Student Participation

Students from Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design participating on this workshop: Gary Chien, Maya Desai, Holly Jordan, Hayley Imerman, Safora Khoylou, Esmond Lee, Timothy Lee, Antoine Morris, Mariangela Piccione, Matthew Spremulli, Sando Thordarson, Sandy Wong, Joseph Yau.

Workshop | analyses & conclusions

Beijing Line13

Workshop day by day | movingcities posts

Relevant content | interviews & links


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