Ping Jiang speaks to AIA YAF Connection about New Urban Agenda

Recently, Ping Jiang, AIA, founding principal of EID Architecture, was interviewed by AIA YAF Connection to share his experience working on urban design projects overseas and discuss how architecture can affect the urban fabric of a city. Connection, produced by the Young Architects Forum, reported the theme issue on New Urban Agenda, reaching out to an emerging firm that has done work all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, China, Hong Kong, and here in the U.S. 





AIA YAF: How are some of the urban issues you see overseas different from here in the US? 

Jiang: Prior to establishing EID Architecture, I had worked in Chicago for about 10 years on some domestic and international projects, but mostly in Europe and Middle East. The urban issues we are dealing with most oversea now have to do with the extreme high density and rapid growth pattern. We see many large-scale transit-oriented developments ongoing, and new district under developing at a remarkable fast pace.





AIA YAF: How can architecture support the New Urban Agenda?

As architecture defines the essential component of urban fabric, it can support the New Urban Agenda in many aspects. In some of our projects, we have always been interested in creating open space that is inclusive and accessible. This can be extremely challenging when we are designing projects in the context of high-density Asian urban developments. One of our recent projects which is under construction, Shimao Hangzhou Wisdom Towers, centers around an open green space. We tried to maximize the public space by freeing up the site more and minimizing the commercial use on the ground level. Another example is a newly completed project, ZJCD Innovation Park, we worked closely with the client and planning department to improve the master planning of this sustainable campus for technology companies, it fosters a strong sense of community and enhances a park-like workplace environment.





AIA YAF: What is your definition of a good urban design project?

We have completed quite a few urban design projects lately, and we are also known for designing the large scale urban mixed-use developments in China. This type of developments is essentially “a city within a city”. For us, a good urban design project needs to address the urban issues holistically, including sound financial positioning, integration of infrastructure and transportation, strengthening and improving urban planning framework, promoting sustainable building and community, etc. Ultimately, it really comes down to create adaptive and resilient designs for healthier buildings and cities.