Nanjing Qingliang Mountain Competition

Nanjing Qingliang Mountain Competition

First, the Mountains
The geological forces of plate tectonics created the small range of mountains along the west edge of Nanjing as well as Purple Mountain to the east of the city. These mountains establish the regional framework for the space of the city. After the mountains, there was the waters.
Second, the Waters
Nanjing is rich in waters that flow between the mountains and pool on the level alluvial plains. Unlike the mountains, these waters have shifted and been diverted over the centuries - the Yangtze River shifting course to a channel west of its previous location closer to Qingliangshan. Human efforts built moats for defense, levees for flood control, and promenades to celebrate civic life - enterprises that have re-structured the waters of Nanjing. After the waters, there was the city.
...and then the City
This fecund environment of mountains and waters was recognized as a propitious location for human settlement. Over centuries, this landscape has nurtured the citizens of Nanjing through many historic and fateful periods. As recently as the middle of the twentieth century, the city was still largely contained within the Ming walls - with the westerly mountains and Purple Mountain standing out against the background of a compact city. As the city has grown well beyond the walls, it has engulfed these mountains. Today, the mountains that seemed to cradle the city are now green figural topographies that reside within the matrix of urban development that spreads well beyond their boundaries.
First, the mountains; second, the waters; and then the city.
This important distinction - that the first history of this significant site is the natural history of mountains and waters - has guided us as we consider the planning and design of Qingliangshan Stone Town Heritage Park. Stone Town was founded in a strategic location on the low slopes at the southern end of the small chain of hills and mountains that crawl along the western edge of Nanjing. The Dongwu wall, on which this competition is focused, was largely built along the lower slopes of these mountains. Constructing the walls about 2/3 of the way up the hill provided a defensive strategy that both allowed lofty views across the territory that would allow views to approaching adversaries and made it difficult for those adversaries to attach the wall as it was situated above them on steep slopes that are difficult to ascent.
Stone Town’s situation alongside the great Yangtze River was also essential to the supreme logic of it’s founders. The river served as a moat that protected the city from the west. Although over time the waters at Qingliangshan have shifted, the relationship of the historic walls that enclosed Stone Town have to those waters remains essential.

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