Grasse Town Beijing
This 620Ha mixed-use development contains residential enclaves and an intimate town centre modelled on traditional European hillside towns. While the topography and mild temperate climate of the area bears similarities with parts of Europe, the theme reflects the Chinese interpretation of the Western lifestyle and extends the government's aim to promote this as an area for tourism. This project exemplifies some of the conceptual issues created when working across cultures, with clients who believe the European way of life is reproducable through physical context alone, and that three-dimensional representations of historic foreign towns are marketable to locals who, like their European counterparts, have different expectations of contemporary living. Sensitivity to these perceptions was important as we worked on the design with the client and stakeholders.