Designing the cities of tomorrow today


The award-winning architectural design agency 2Portzamparc is putting its latest ideas into projects in China, said its founder and co-owner Elizabeth de Portzamparc.

The France-headquartered agency is taking huge strides in promoting and championing sustainability efforts across the globe.

“In the light of the major crises currently facing our civilization, a very powerful collective awareness is generating an amazing proliferation of actions and reactions in the world,” Elizabeth said. She added: “A great many of us want to offer practical and appropriate architectural solutions to the multitude of contemporary challenges.”

Throughout its time as an industry leader, the agency has steered many projects in this direction. They have explored solutions which favor diversity, flexibility, economy of form and materials, prefabrication, affordable construction and the creation of spaces for community living. It aims to foster the development of all forms of social life and the emergence of innovative initiatives.

“I created within my agency a sustainable workshop, bringing together architects, urban planners, scenographers, sociologists and political scientists. The workshop steps in all projects, from architecture to urban planning,” she said.

The agency 2Portzamparc has erected a number of eco-friendly buildings in China, including two in Pudong, Shanghai and Taichung, Taiwan.

The Science Hall of Zhangjiang Science City in Shanghai’s Pudong district is part of the Shanghai Park project. It aims to add a forested ring to the city’s ring roads.

According to Elizabeth, it is embracing an architectural style that is always in motion, in progress and looking to the future. Therefore, a floating footbridge and bubble pavilions are featured.

Another remarkable project is the Taichung Intelligence Operation Tower. It stands as an example of how neighborhood could be in the future.

“Flexibility and adaptability are two major concepts developed for the interior spaces of the tower. The structural system, made of a central core and load-bearing facade, maximizes the available surface of each floor and leaves the basements free to adapt to the evolution of uses. The floor is high enough to provide many uses,” said Elizabeth.

It also offers a new way of tackling the growing concern about individualism and social isolation in cities.

She said as cities have become more dense, architecture conceive as vertical neighborhood with open spaces for social lives on every floor is a solution for modern cities and future generations.

When asked about China’s calling card in the coming years, Elizabeth said China can become a leader in solving environmental and social issues.

“City development has caused many ecological problems, of them carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution are the most important. Using eco-friendly equipment, bettering energy consumption and power generation, reducing harmful particulate matter and rethinking the connection between city and nature can work well.

“Provided that these technical solutions do not lead up to forget social considerations, which we have to deal simultaneously. For us, only by this way can we pretend to do sustainable architecture,” she added. The agency 2Portzamparc has pledged to hone its techniques and commit to social responsibility. This echoes the goals of the World Congress of Architects promoted by the International Union of Architects in Rio de Janeiro, July 2020 – “All the Worlds, One World”.

“We will work with thousands of architects from around the world to discuss sustainable cities and communities’ futures by 2030,” Elizabeth said.


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