Li Wenyu
An Urban Design Centred on HSR Station

Thesis Supervisor: Prof. Patrick Janssen

Site: Altay City, Xinjiang Province & Yang Jiang City, Guang Dong Province, China

Online Website:

Architects never stop imagining about the city of future. With on-going technological advancements, new resources available imply possibilities of new urban design solutions, and this is a project speculating on a possibility of future where HSR-centric urban design is adopted, which utilizes the resource of High Speed Rail infrastructure to tackle multiple urban issues and to achieve the solution of a liveable and sustainable development.


A compact urban design can be created to eliminate the need for cars within a city; compactness and centering on HSR station also minimize the need for car to travel between cities. It is possibly a more sustainable development.

The project consists of two phases. Phase 1 will be an Ex Nihilo (born out of nothing) urban design. Through a series of calculation and exploration of urban grid and building typologies with Rhino&Grasshopper, a conceptual model was established with the optimal relationships amongst the constituent parts within, which can adapt to and be applied to different contexts.


In Phase 2, the HSR-Centric City (Ex Nihilo) was taken to different sites, where the city’s purest form was disrupted and the city has to engage the site, resulting in morphing and new forms of HSR-Centric Cities.


At the end of Phase 1, an Ex Nihilo (born out of nothing) HSR-Centric City has been created.

It is a conceptual model with the optimal relationships amongst the constituent parts within, which can adapt to and be applied to different contexts.


The first site chosen in the Altay city, Altay Prefecture, Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Province, China. It is an open field a few kilometers away from the Ulungur lake (one of the ten largest freshwater lakes in China).


Considering the One Belt One Road Initiative by China to connect different countries across the continent, the site can be a strategic location to build an HSR-Centric City, given that this northern part of Xinjiang is in direct contact with three other countries, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. The site has the potential to develop into an international transport hub for both passenger and physical resource.


The second site chosen is a coastal area in the suburban region in the Yangjiang City, Guangdong Province, China.


The site is outside but close to the Pearl River Economic Zone of the Guangdong Province, one of the three major economic zones in China which contribute a high percentage of GDP to the country.


Building an HSR-Centric City here allows people to live here where cost of living is low while being able to travel to the economic zone to find employment and earn higher income during the day.