Shaoxing is a water city with marshlands, canals and The Grand Mirror Lake. Our 25 acre site is central to the new sector, developing in this fast growing city of 3 million people.
The Mayor of Shaoxing and the Director of Human Resources asked the question, "How do we keep our best young minds in our city and bring others, educated in Europe and America, back home, to work and research in their formative years?"
I answered, "They will stay if there is a future for them in Shaoxing, one that can be invented and not merely inherited." There must be a possibility to invent a work life that is hybridized and cross-sector. We began with a description. I asked them to imagine a place, an incubator for a younger generation of entrepreneurial, creative leaders, post-grad and pre-pro, to invent a life in a collaborative community of interdisciplinary creators networked in physical and virtual space. The people working, living, and playing here are a cross sector group from the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, especially from the creative disciplines, solving problems referred to as the Drivers of Change.
The incubator is an organized as a settlement town. The main repurposing will be reconfiguring the spatial-communications infrastructures from single purpose manufacturing work and material flows to human of mutually beneficial hybridized disciplines arranged into a campus. It is neither a school nor business but it educates and produces commodity. It serves its community by enriching the city environment, socially and economically. The site organization and Architectural strategy begins with the with an ancient local concept of the earth holding memory of all that has lived here. The linguistic character for mirror is scaled to the site and through a series of creative operations it is transmuted into a spatial and formal concept.