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Dalian Eco Town

Projects / Masterplanning

Dalian Eco Town

Project Information


Client: Shuangtaigou Village

Site Location: Dalian, Liaoning Province 



Project Date: 2012

Project Status: Complete

The intention is to create an inhabited landscape where people live undera carefully planned sequence of south facing, solar harvesting, superinsulated, energy efficient cliffs of apartments that support a relocation ofthe original green and productive agricultural landscape on all horizontal surfaces. ZEDfactory see this as being of great cultural significance - with the urban farmers having a significant role to play in feeding andgreening the city landscape as it expands whilst retaining, funding and celebrating the culture and productivity of the original plot holders. This strategy could significantly reduce the pain of farmers losing land tourban expansion, particularly if the new urban produce created added value and income by being marketed as either fresh produce or pre preprepared food to the new expanded community ?


The masterplan is divided into six areas. Apart from zone 'A', where only public amenities are located in, the rest of the areas present a prominence of residential buildings with a mixed distribution of few facilities in particular in the south of zone 'C' and in zone 'E'. Area 'D', the only land beyond the river, would have probably a majority of commercial units, although its design has not been defined yet.

In order to perceive a proper understanding of the surroundings, this study will approach the whole site masterplan with general 3D views and solar studies. Therefore the design will be focused on the area addressed by the Dalian Shuangtaigou Village Committee. Its perimeter includes the South-East part of zone 'F' and zone 'C'.

Masterplan Analysis

As the site analysis of phase 1 has shown, some interesting areas surround the site. In particular the Northern seaside could be seen from reasonable heights. Orchards and farms extend towards the West whilst in the South mountains sway the masterplan and block out most of the prevailing humid wind during summer.

Masterplan Design

Whilst a common high density development will separate itself from its surrounding landscape by rising up from it, without a relationship with it, our design takes that high density building form and delicately places the landscape over the top of it. This creates a more integrated building form, which encourages the connection between the manmade and natural forms. This is a crucial stage in the quest to get humans to live more sustainably by understanding how natural processes work.

Human Artifice Object Building

ZED Development

Object buildings can be wrapped in landscape

The masterplan consists of a development to accommodate 950 + apartments and more than 350,000 cubic meters of built space on farmers land.

Original Proposed Design


Typical high rise developments create huge gaps between dwellers living in the buildings and the outside landscape. This divides landscape and buildings and leaves people feeling disconnected from the ground.  The landscape becomes an unusable, untouchable element outside the buildings.

Farmers land values

In our design, we have prioritized the farmers' wishes to grow organic foods, keep domestic animals and more than anything to give the community back a sense of owning its land.

No existing farmer will lose any productive land area.

Nature in the urban jungle

Returning the farmer's land back

To appreciate and respect the values of farmers, and to enhance the sense of a development within a piece of landscape, the buildings should not only emerge from the landscape, but rather become part of the landscape.


We propose:

  • Each farmer be given the right to own and manage a plot of land within the site; either on the roof or at the ground level.

  • The landscape integrates itself with the buildings via the roof and lift cores, rather than just surrounding the buildings.

  • That this farmer-oriented development can deliver socially and environmentally sustainable results.


Buildings emerging from landscape as a part of the landscape provides:

  • good quality usable spaces

  • additional benefits of roof top activities

  • an additional escape route in case of emergency; residents can potentially go up the staircases and climb down the outside of the building

  • a reduction in energy use by giving the option for residents to ascend the building via external flights of stairs

  • a sense of respect for nature among residents

  • the chance to grow organic food to reduce carbon footprints


Long east-west orientated buildings provide large south facing facades which make use of solar gain, daylighting, and maximize natural ventilation.


Cross-directional build reduces overshadowing, maximises wind gains and solar gains and allows good views over green roof-tops

One of its key features is the integration between landscape and buildings how the landscape can flow around and over the blocks, giving plenty of publicly accessible pedestrian routes at a variety of privacy levels.

Roof Terraces Concept

The roof gardens - with its terraced allotments, cherry trees for shading and views across the natural landscape provides a great space forresidents and visitors alike to rest, relax, take in the views, or partake in aspot of vegetable growing. A publicly accessible lift at the highest point onthe building means that the roof can be ascended via the path, using the lift to descend, or for the lift to ascend and the roof path for descending. Wheelchair users can access portions of the roof via individual cores, as at the top of each core, a door accesses a large flat portion of the roof. The rest of the roof is accessed via small flights of steps.

The roof terraces are formed from large 1 metre high steps, which rise as the building gradually increases in height. Each core is hidden underneath these green allotments, but still reach a high enough levelto have level access to the roof gardens for less able-bodied people and pushchairs. By using a maisonette at the highest point of each set of 4 apartments, we have been able to keep the profile of the core low, so it does not dramatically impact upon the south facade shape. It also allows us touse the large core's roof as extra allotment space. For these reasons, the roof area is able to provide allotment spacefor 5 floors worth of apartments underneath it (21 allotments per 4 apartment-core arrangement).

Community Health & Wellbeing

At the pinnacle point of each building, there is the option to construct a special room to reward residents who have made the climb up the outside of the building. These could include tea houses, spas, and even swimming pools if the budget is available.

Elevation Study: South Elevation

Enviornmental Strategy

High rise building facades can easily tend to be monotonous, causing an unfriendly impact on the surrounding context and the residents' rejection of them. In order to achieve an eye-catching texture, we have made some simple changes by applying some purple panels in an irregular sequence to give some variance to the facade.


In addition, we have slid the balconies back and forth from the doors, made some of them 2.3 metres long, and others 4.6 metres long. This allows for either 1 or 2 standard sized Himin Solar Thermal tube collectors to be installed within the balustrading of the balconies. Lastly, some balconies have been completely enclosed to create features. These could be coloured in different colours such as below, or all one colour as represented in some of the other renders in this report.

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