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Gupi Historic Town Centre Revitalisation

Jiangsu, China

Despite an renowned town with 6,000 years history, Gupi has lost most of its heritage assets due to historical conflicts, natural causes and negligence. Rapid urbanisation in recent years has massively improved the town’s infrastructure and living quality, but also led to further loss of its precious remaining ancient townscape. Most notably, the low skyline of old beauty and charm has given way to modern yet uncharacteristic new buildings, weakening its town centre’s gravity as well as causing social networks to become fragmented with disappearance of community spirit.

The main objective of WYP’s regeneration plan for Gupi’s historic town centre was to bring spirit and pride back to its heart. Guided by the principle that the town’s greatest assets lie in the potentials of the place and its people, a blueprint evolved based on local traditions, culture, and its needs. It would be implemented with a holistic approach: restoring the historic fabric; protecting its culture heritage; establishing a resilient ecosystem; fostering a thriving local economy; improving the overall living quality; and ultimately, creating a strong sense of community.

Drawing inspirations from Gupi’s history and cultural heritage, the regeneration strategies focused on a conservation-oriented mixed-use development to restore its unique urban identify. Reflecting the water-borne nature of the place, water themed landscape was consolidated as the primary spatial organiser and cultural connector to reunite the old town’s ruptured fabric. Here, the town’s ancient water network was rediscovered and modified to form the development spine, while the lost lakes were restored to create a central park - the heart of new community. A mix of uses, including residential, school, arts, culture, offices, retail, hospitality, and entertainment, were seamlessly organised along the new waterfront and winding old alleys, creating a safe, heathy and thriving community for future generations to flourish and prosper.

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