An urban plan for housing and retail in Tianjin, China, TEDA combines towers and low-rise typologies along the lines of the old street patterns to preserve trees, as well as the rich tapestry of urban lifestyles that have historically existed there. TEDA successfully combines the required square metres with a high quality living environment that mediates between different functions and scales.


Location: Tianjin, China

Year: 2004-2009

Client: TEDA Vantone Real Estate Co. Ltd. Tianjin, China 

Program: 280.000 m2 housing and retail space

Budget: Undisclosed



TEDA Urban Fabric is an urban development and therefore it can be visited by walking through the streets of Tianjin. The buildings themselves are private homes so, when visiting, please respect the privacy of the residents.

Address: He Bei Da Jie, Hongqiao Qu, Tianjin Shi, China, 300141



An urban plan for housing and retail in Tianjin, China combines a development of 75% towers and 25% low-rise typologies following the old street pattern, so as to densify a traditional urban setting. The re-introduction of Chinese residential typologies and creation of public space also feature as part of the plan.


Recently, in China, many old neighbourhoods have been replaced by new ones. The existing urban patterns are being erased and new towns are built without any specific links to what was previously there. In case of TEDA town, re-using most of the existing tree-lined street produces a series of plots on which the program can be positioned. To combine the street feeling with the total requested amount of square meters, a mix of towers and low-rise typologies was proposed.


Each tower is accompanied by an open space, opening up the dense pattern of the existing streets. The towers are positioned to maximise light and views while leaving enough space for low-rise developments. The low-rise housing is organized into archetypal patio houses and townhouses of 3 or 4 levels, surrounding courtyards with plants and water features. On the main streets, ground floors can be used as shops and studios. Parking is organized in several underground garages.


In this way, a new neighbourhood is recreated that echoes the character of the old streets. It combines a dense urbanity with a traditional layout, creating a lively, attractive and sustainable urban area.



Design: MVRDV - Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries

Design Team: Jacob van Rijs, Stefan Witteman, Wenchian Shi with Franziska Meisel, Johannes Schele, Sven Thoresen and Rune Boserup, Tie Ying Fang and Joana Gomes


Co-architects: Tianjin Architects & Consulting Engineers, Tianjin, China

Photographs: Peter Dixie (slides 4,7,8,10,11,12,13,14,18, 21)


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