Suzhou, China




1000 ha


International Urban Design Competition


3rd prize


Suzhou Natural Resources and Planning Bureau, SND Education Industry Development


Martin Arfalk, Patrick Verhoeven, Chuhan Zhang, Andrei Deacu, Shan Jiang, Siyu Lu, Cyril Pavlu


Nanjing University Urban Planning and Design Institute

Taihu Science City is to become one of the most important carriers of global science in China. The project’s aim is to build a cosmopolitan, innovative and world-class ecological district while providing an atmosphere for international scientific cooperation and competitiveness.

Taihu Science City

Sitting by Taihu Lake, a newly developed area of nearly a thousand hectares traditionally occupied by farmlands, is planned to become a cosmopolitan and innovative district oriented around scientific research. Its outermost edges reach Taihu Lake in the north, Taihu National Wetland Park in the south and the high-tech zone of Suzhou City in the east. With respect to local environment conditions and cultural context, the ambition of the project is to create a hyper-modern Science City, based on its compelling urban structure, predominantly scientific theme, and leading ecological technologies.


Together with the Urban Planning and Design Institute of Nanjing University, we propose a vision of Jiangnan Civilisation IV, a proposal that integrates long-established Jiangnan culture with innovative urban development.


Our design strategy derives from understanding the natural environment of the area, existing research industry, and local culture. Five green corridors run through the district, setting a foundation for resilient functioning of the area by forming a blue-green network connected to the mountains in the site. This natural framework allows for the reintroduction of typical Suzhou water villages into the plan. The urban structure is shaped around three main cores with varied functional program, combining research industry, public spaces, community centres, and services. These key areas are surrounded by multiple living clusters, and while each of them is oriented around a different branch of study and research, they are designed to enhance the exchange of knowledge and experience in a cross-pollinating manner.


Nature corridors run through the area

Key areas with varied functional program

Cross-pollinating living clusters

East-west regional innovation corridor

Mixed community and program merge

New spatial structure

Taihu Science City Masterplan

Proposed extension of Suzhou City blends naturally with surrounding urban gardens connected by green corridors.

Key research areas within different clusters

Landmark edges

Traffic network

Landmark area: visual connections

Integrated water system

Blue-green network along Taihu Lake coastline connects to the mountains on site and Taihu Wetland Park using the existing water system and creating spatial objectives for the urban structure.

Nature based connections

Blue-green connection links central area of the development with existing Taihu Wetland Park.

Cultural program

City parks network

Science Center

Science Center is the beating heart of the new development encompassing research facilities, exhibition areas, key public spaces and recreational program. By introducing ecological technologies and connecting the center to the blue-green network, the city and nature are seamlessly integrated, becoming a contemporary interpretation of a ‘scientific garden’.

Vibrant daily life

Taihu Science City does not only pioneer in innovation and technology, but also provides daily scientific experiences for the local community, being at the same time a fantastic attraction for visitors!

Stimulating environment

Science Center public spaces are filled with cutting edge technologies, making them inspiring and thrilling places.

Research & Innovation Campus

Green, pedestrian friendly and lower scale campus is a perfect environment for developing research and innovation based community.

Research & Innovation Campus

Living spaces and green areas blend uninterruptedly

Interactive exhibition areas: Science meets Tradition
As embroidery and silk were important aspects of the local culture, one of the clusters is oriented around the art and science behind embroidery and how can it be used in scientific research.