The Hangang Green Jade masterplan transforms a polluted industrial area into a green, vibrant city. By combining nature, technology and culture, the area is turned into a lively hub of arts, culture and technology for 55.000 residents.

The project is a collaboration with UNStudio, with Except’s contribution of an integral sustainability plan. The design not only restores the natural environment and makes the city sustainable and future-proof, it also provides for the physical, social and mental wellbeing of its residents.

Hangang Green Jade - UNStudio - Google Chrome 06_10_2020 16_31_31.jpg

Soil Remediation

Handan, China, currently consists of steel industry facilities and contaminated land. The heavy polluted soil gets purified by Soil Remediation Techniques integrated in the building typologies. Over time the polluted area is transformed into the Green Jade, the historical center of the city.

Sponge City

The design strategy integrates natural elements throughout the city design that manifest in different ways; traditional parks, urban gardens and pocket parks, but also innovative technological landscapes. This will help to restore, but also to strengthen the existing ecosystems, as well as introduce new ones that all add to the health and wellbeing of Handan. The diversity of these natural elements also contribute to making the city more resilient and climate-adaptive.

Local and Decentralized Water Purification

The decentralized water purification system gets materialized in a new building typology referring to the historical bell towels of China. In the different districts this water purification tower is a central element.

Hangang Green Jade - UNStudio -Masterplan.jpg

Culture and History

The Hangang masterplan offers a variety of different districts and neighborhoods, including an Arts District, dedicated to cultural and artistic activities; Green Village, focusing on low density living and recreational activities, wellbeing and health; and the Knowledge hub, where labs and research and educational facilities can be found.

Handan’s rich past culture and history is reflected in the Arts District, as its location near the Green Jade makes for a direct link with the site’s history.

Except’s Integral Sustainability Plan

Except contributed the development of an integral sustainability strategy. This plan specifically targets restoring the natural environment and integrates sustainable practices to optimize the conditions for the area’s biodiversity. All these have to do with water; the Soil Remediation Technique uses water to purify the soil, and Sponge absorbs and stores running water. Additionally, the plan incorporates local and decentralized water purification systems.

Project data




Hebei Provincial Department of Housing & Urban-Rural Development and Department of Natural Resources of Hebei Province / competition organized by UED Magazine


Handan, China

Total Gross floor area

Green Jade area – 2.6 ha | 890,000 m2 GFA

Project area

370 hectares


Mixed use – residential, office, commercial, public space – 10.5M m2

Historic buildings preservation – 1.8M m2


Competition entry

Emma Westerduin
by Emma Westerduin
Architect and Project Manager

Feb. 23, 2021

Client & Partners

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