Urban Architectural Lab (UAL), Architecture and Engineering of Southeast University (AESEU) - Dutian Temple District in Huai'an, a project born from an "urban acupuncture" strategy
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Dutian Temple District in Huai'an, a project born from an "urban acupuncture" strategy

Urban Architectural Lab (UAL), Architecture and Engineering of Southeast University (AESEU)

Urban Planning  /  Future
Urban Architectural Lab (UAL), Architecture and Engineering of Southeast University (AESEU)

Dutian Temple District is located in the heart of Huai'an, the hub of the "Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal", representing precious authentic traditional settlements of Qingjiangpu Ancient City. The site holds rich spatial information, but currently suffers from high building density, inconvenient transportation, aging infrastructure, and a lack of vibrancy. The design employs a unique "urban acupuncture" strategy, aligning with local traditional Chinese medicine culture. By localizing transformations, it aims to trigger positive changes in local environment, revitalizing the area and renewing the city. The key lies in accurately identifying the "acupuncture points" through a targeted approach that ensures precise intervention.

The urban design leverages existing historical heritage and information, aiming to present and protect the Internal Canal and Qingjiang Ancient City. It connects historical cultural resources and service facilities, actively shaping an important historical and cultural route in Huai'an. Simultaneously, it enhances infrastructure, improves public services, and elevates the quality of tourism facilities. The design focuses on presenting the diverse architectural features of the canal settlements, creating an open and inclusive urban leisure space and a vibrant community that exemplifies shared vitality.

The urban design incorporates the assessment of microclimate, responding to the summer wind corridor by widening streets and waterfront spaces. It connects the local "cool islands" and enhances the density of "cool alleys". By expanding open spaces according to heritage resources distribution, it creates a comfortable living environment.

Rather than emphasizing specific historical styles, the design respects various local historical periods, preserving architectural style diversity. It mitigates the decline of cultural aesthetics through adaptive reuse instead of demolition. With low-carbon maintenance, it adapts to forward-looking living needs, envisioning the Dutian Temple as a snapshot of time embedded within its historical growth.

Recognizing and Integrating Fragmented Historical and Cultural Resources at Multiple Scales

At the urban scale, boundaries, pathways, and landmarks of Qingjiang City are identified and highlighted with cultural value. At the district scale, the preservation plan has expanded from 14 to 33 heritage units, for protection and exhibition. At the site scale, it transforms the plaza of Dutiang Temple into a cultural hub, revitalizes Dazhong Theater for drama preservation, optimizes the waterfront space with historical aesthetics, incorporates public amenities into the factory site, and preserves the Community Center.

Inheriting Local Culture Based on the Block and Building Levels

The urban design divides the area into primary blocks based on streets and alleys, and secondary blocks based on ownership, creates smaller blocks that align with traditional block patterns, and facilitates the building's layouts while maintaining the continuity of historical texture. Simultaneously, it incorporates local architectural scale, unit composition, and distinctive features.

Incorporating Contemporary and Future Needs

The Dutian Temple district is home to a diverse population, remaining a thriving historical district. As time advances and cities evolve, the design aims to enhance the beauty and livability of this district. The old streets and alleys exude a stronger sense of nostalgia, while residents experience convenience and a heightened sense of happiness in their daily lives.

The design spiritual centerpiece is the Dutian Temple, a historical hub for traditional Chinese medicine education. We draw parallels between the principles of acupuncture and our approach to revitalization design. Just as acupuncture targets key pressure points for targeted treatments, we identify critical areas within the declining district and implement tailored measures to restore its vibrancy. By doing so, the once-declining district is revived with vitality.


 Huai'an City, Jiangsu Province
 200000 mq
 LIU Hua, MA Xiaodong, HAN Dongqing, GUI Peng, SUN Fei, TAN Liang, ZOU Kang
 LIU Hua, MA Xiaodong, HAN Dongqing, GUI Peng, SUN Fei, TAN Liang, ZOU Kang, WANG Yang, LU Yin, XU Yuping, PANG Yueting, YANG Fan, LU Rui, YANG Wenxin, SHU Hongda, ZHOU Xin, YAO Di, TANG Ying, LI Yu, XU Yipin


The Urban Architecture Laboratory (UAL) is a design team based at the Architecture and Engineering Co., Ltd. of Southeast University and the School of Architecture, Southeast University. This integrated production-study-research team focuses on urban architecture as its main research area. With a commitment to the integration of urban design and architectural design, UAL explores the entire innovative process, ranging from urban planning and design to the implementation of architectural design. This exploration is facilitated through practical projects, research initiatives, knowledge generation, and application testing across various case types. By engaging in these activities, the team aims to push the boundaries of urban and architectural design, ultimately contributing to the development and advancement of the field.

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