Tiananmen Square is best known in the West for the 1989 student protests, but most people are only aware of it from that iconic image above. It was built when China was a very different place, the perfect setting for military processions, but is used very little by Beijing residents now. One of the countries leading architects has hatched a plan to overwrite everything it once stood for, and to replace it with something altogether more useful. A symbol that is less red, and more green.
Ma Yansong believes the square should be turned into a landscaped forest, to highlight environmental issues and to provide a place that people can relax. "We want to transform this empty political square into something that can be enjoyed. Our aim is to propose not to criticize, to raise the issue of public space. The way we do our architecture is to show that we can come up with our own solutions. We don't just take orders. That is why we want to show this project to the public first"
A green belt was planned for Beijing in the 90’s, but China’s rapid growth and urban sprawl meant that the proposed land was swallowed up by new buildings. Only 2.8% of Beijing is now green but, despite the great need for more green space, it’s unlikely that the authorities will go ahead with these exciting plans - the Chinese media have been banned from publishing images of the concept. :: The Guardian