Architecture has the power to completely change its surroundings, creating a focal point which influences an area much larger than that which it inhabits. This means that when it comes to rebuilding a locale from the ground up, a bold new approach is needed, one which looks to the future while tapping into the past. Bulgarian firm Sonik Module believes it has accomplished this tricky balancing act with Sity, a conceptual design envisioned as the centerpiece for the redevelopment of an area along the Suzhou Creek in Shanghai.

Sity is a conceptual design entry in the Re-Thinking Shanghai 2012 competition. The brief: design a visionary proposal for a sustainable architectural intervention along the Suzhou Creek in Shanghai.

The name Sity, incidentally, comes from an amalgam of the terms Shanghai City, Super City, Spiral City, and Structure.

Sity is an attempt to bridge the gap between old China and new China with its dragon-inspired design. The Chinese dragon is a mythical beast denoting power and strength, elements surely befitting a structure of such size and scale - Sity is proposed to be 60 stories high.

Beneath the striking structure itself lies a man-made river and park, with various intersections where pedestrians can enter the building. The wider world would be welcomed in by a series of roads, vessels traversing the river, and a subway line. The inside of the structure is harder to imagine, even with the help of diagrams. We do know there will be elevators and walkways transporting people around. Sity is designed to be for mixed-use occupation, with residential space co-existing alongside office space.

"I really hope that the people of Shanghai will enjoy and try to realize project Sity, because all of this is new urbanism and architecture for dynamic, ecologically and real sustainable life in the city," project co-author Anastas Kanev told Gizmag. "The effect is sure to be very good in macroscale."

Informal partners of the project working alongside Sonik Module are New Bulgarian University and University of Forestry in Sofia.

Sity is a bold statement, one that were it ever to actually be built would undoubtedly prove a challenge to construct. This is a piece of architecture that borders on being a work of art, and it would leave a lasting impression on any visitors to Shanghai. In fact, it would likely attract its fair share of visitors in its own right.

The deadline for submissions in the Re-Thinking Shanghai 2012 competition has already passed, so it's now up to the panel of judges to decide on the winning entry. The winning entry won't necessarily then be commissioned, but the design team responsible for it will instead be invited to further develop their ideas.

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