Today’s developing China is experiencing the impact of a massive wave of urbanization. As a result, the small and medium-sized cities are facing many social, economical, and environmental problems. The Fu River Wetland Park seeks to alleviate the strain of urbanization by merging the benefits of planned development with environmental science and people/place oriented design to create a sustainable and historically significant waterfront development.
Waterfront Road, Design Language reviving Millennium Years’ Urban Waterfront
Project Name: waterfront landscape belt planning in Hedong newly-developed area (Waterfront road)
Design Scope: planning, landscape & architecture design
Project Nature: urban planning, landscape
Design Unit: BLVD Architecture Consultant Co., Ltd.
Project Location: Suining, Sichuan Province
Construction Unit: Suining Hedong Development and Construction Co., Ltd.
Project Scale: eco-waterfront planning project for a medium and small size city in China,
running eight (8) kilometers of the Fu River waterfront and extends to an area of 140
Size: 725000 square meters
Design Time: 2008
Here’s some more information from BLVD Architecture Consultant Co., Ltd.:
Past and Present – Design Backdrop
The history of this area dates back to 350 AD. This once deserted and wild piece of land alongside the Fu River is the site of significant and historical battle victories. In 2008, 1,660 years later, BLVD was commissioned to reconsider how to use this piece of land. Our mission was to turn this significant piece of river front land, with over fifteen hundred years of profound history, into an eco-sensitive life spring of the city that is a vital and magical place.
However, limited government financial investment meant that we had to try to turn the almost impossible into possible with very little investment. In addition, the land was a severely scarred environment resulting from the process of urbanization and had been previously used only for agriculture and flood prevention. We faced the enormous challenge of transforming this into a sustainable urban waterfront landscape.
Since 2008, the butterfly effect unfolded in East River region of Suining city.
The objective for the project moved from the simple concept of a Wetland Park, Tourism Destination and Urban Park at the beginning of project positioning. What BLVD pursued in its new design plan was to utilize the featured local land conditions, keep the original ecological elements, alleviate environmental burden, and maintain the integrity of local environment. We looked to strengthen the free and harmonious communication between human beings and nature.
BLVD’S solution, while not only satisfying the needs of landscape developments for underdeveloped cities in China, also broke the development bottleneck of how to ensure the operation of eco economy in small and medium-sized cities with low investment. This process has set an example for the future urbanization progress of second and third-tier cities in their waterfront landscape designs.
The Suning Fu River Wetland Park, while promoting harmonious development of environmental habitat within cities, also sets a new standard in fashioning the new look for traditional Chinese cities. The language of international progress combined with creation of a unique and refreshing sense of place is our mission in enhancing people’s overall well-being that is so necessary in our urban environments.
Ingenuity – Design Concept
In our design, the idea of dancing gracefully is adopted to achieve the breakthrough and return culturally, commercially, spatially and ecologically.
Feasibility studies were made to understand Suining’s economic condition, history and culture. After which, an exciting point was reached and agreed upon that will serve as the basis in creating the new city development; That is to achieve the revitalization of the grand millennium city by using the new area development to its maximum.
As part of the revival plan, an Urban Mixed-Use Complex was achieved by combining the commercial atmosphere with local culture and environmental preservation. The combination proved to be successful as it created a different kind of space experience and created a feeling of a tourism resort.
The goal was to drive Suining’s economic development by turning the waterfront landscape belt into a modern and fashionable tourist spot and a shopping haven with great branding effects while infusing the same characteristics into the New Urban Center, Leisure Experience Center, Shopping Tourism Center and Waterfront Sightseeing Center.
Right from the start， the traditional way of planning was set aside to pave way for an alternative method that would make use of the site’s condition as the defining factor in creating the design. Several factors were considered that includes the site’s topography and the city’s religious beliefs about water and mountains.
The aesthetic concept of landscape beyond landscape is fully embodied in our design by highlighting the characteristics of ecological garden and creating highly artistic viewing spaces, in which architecture, landscape and nature coexist in harmony. Thus, a modern international tourism garden city is gracefully unfolding.
Leisure Sports Area: Its location is close to the third bridge of the Northern part of Fu River.
The Suining Waterfront Landscape achieved a Five- Star rating by utilizing the vast water resource of Guanyin (Bodhisattva) lake.
Like music that soothes ones soul, the landscape features and elements on the new waterfront design create a serene atmosphere and established a sense of place.
Eco Experience Area: Its location is close to the third bridge of Fu River’s South Bank. It is also in close proximity to Suining’s Administrative Center. The design of a wetland park along the riverfront achieved a design that is ecologically unique and exquisite. Along this wetland park one can find the Eco Science and Technology Experience Center, Eco Plaza, Plant Expo Square, Eco Tea Room and other public facilities.
Fashion commercial area: A modern, dynamic and international fashion commercial area will be presented as the Image of Suining.
Located in the middle of the landscape belt and adjacent to the CBD in Hedong new city planning, the fashion commercial area boasts a grand waterscape plaza, a Buddha Tower, a fantastic waterfront view deck, a spectacular musical fountain and other landmark buildings.
What’s more, a special large-scale hotel, a mixed use modern consumption complex that integrates shopping, leisure commerce, modern catering and romantic bars, offers you great opportunity to enjoy the fashion shopping spree.
In particular, there are theme-restaurants, specialty shops, lakefront leisure area, cinema, and view decks in the lakefront commercial area with fancy waterscape as its backdrop.
Here you find that the unique advantage of mountain, water, city and people coexisting and depending on each other. This character is fully utilized in our design to create a commercial area with inviting exotic culture, to propose a new-type community and consumption trend.
Green theme area: it is situated in South of waterfront and relying on the Buddism godness Guanyin culture. Here you can find culture exhibition center, fast room, edifying room etc. for cultivating one’s mind, pilgrimage & praying, bathing, fasting, art appreciation and culture diffusion. A green-food theme park that satisfies you with a great variety of green food will utilize the green food as its selling point, and integrate exhibition, wholesaling, and catering to create a green food experience center that never lose its charm.
Worldwide view – Social Significance
At the positioning phase, this project was not intended to be a Wetland Park or Tourism Destination or Urban Park simply. On one hand, the planning by BLVD not only addressed to incorporate local conditions, but also to preserve natural and original elements, and to alleviate burden on environment, thus achieving integrity with local environment, and interpreting the harmony between human and nature. On the other hand, the planning by BLVD broke through the bottle neck, which is how to keep ecological economy of a medium and small city to run smoothly with limited budget. It also meets the landscape development need in majority of Chinese cities who don’t have a strong economy. It provides guidance to the 2nd and 3rd rank of cities in China for urbanization in future, serving a role model for similar cities in China on waterfront landscape design and waterfront economy. Today, Suining, the ancient city, is showing its new face in high standard and international speed, and is promoting the harmonious development of human living environment.
The extensive use of native plants embodies the authenticity of the site, and shows the intention of returning to nature and eco system completion. Additionally, the site is implanted with new optimized planting system, which helps improve the ecological cycle, at the same time, the site specificity is achieved.Wetland planting landscape: eco wetland herbal flora; pieces of kans, reed, Hemarthria compressa, Gramineae Paspalum distichum, water willow and other water plant, adorned in between by drooping willow and poplars which help solidify dam, purify water and beautify environment.Planting landscape in dam-garden: wood land flower and planting landscape consist of herbaceous flowers, ornamental trees and shrub; shade trees are mainly ornamental ginkgos, which enhance the sense of spatial sequence and creates a poetic aura.“Warm” Commercial planting landscape: ornamental arbor and shrubs presents a simple and enjoyable holiday experience landscape that integrates leisure, vacation and tourism into the site.
Functional and Traffic Analysis:
Considering the narrow shape of the site, a multipath system with multi access in the site is proposed to link each functional area. Additionally, pedestrian circulation is separated from the vehicular circulation on the basis of the need of different functions. Pedestrian circulation refers to the timber walkways and the waterfront walkways embedded in the wetland protection zone, while, vehicular circulation refers to the bike path on the dam.
Analysis of Landscape Furniture:
Local culture is well presented by a series of theme sculptures, which highlight the visual effect and creates a dramatic scene together with other simple and comfortable city furniture.
Functional Treatment and Design Method:
Stressing on Wetland Technique and Eco Treatment“Ecology is not something we can create; instead, it is a self-adjusting process of nature, an organic whole, therefore, we have to design the individual building with an overall vision.” Both historical experience and the practice tell us that what people favor most is the eco-harmonious landscape because of its green, environmental friendly and energy saving nature. There are 2 techniques utilized most frequently in the design: wetland technique and the eco treatment on flood prevention dam.The purpose of utilizing wetland technique is to recover the wetland to its natural or half-natural status: during dry season, vast piece of shallow is exposed, while, when the flood comes, it recovers to natural wetland, which has so much to enjoy. Additionally, the biggest challenge in the design is how to present an eco flood prevention dam alongside the bulkhead line instead of giving a long piece of dull cement platform. In the design, some treatments based on the large-scale urban planning are adopted, such as water purification and decentralized collection of rainwater etc. By the way, the environmental protection and eco recovery is achieved through the wetland system, as you can find the vast pieces of native plants and enjoyable landscape on the dam.
Sustainability of Development
What matter most in the landscape effect are development and construction. Therefore, after considering the capital turnover and landscape effect, a development method based on different functional systems is adopted to ensure that the landscape can be presented orderly and reasonably to the largest extent. The landscape is divided into 6 parts including planting, paths, commercial buildings, lighting, structures and city furniture. All are developed orderly in short period to realize an ideal landscape effect: starting from planting, paths and commercial buildings to achieve an outline for the project, to create a commercial atmosphere with enjoyable landscape and to bring out the economic and landscape value; the second step is to add exquisitely-made structures and furniture to enrich the landscape and realize a free capital operation. In this way, a benign landscape cycle is achieved, which realizes the reasonability and sustainability of development in real sense.
Organic Integration of Architecture and Landscape in Local Cultural ContextThe planning and design on waterfront landscape are conditioned on the interpretation and integration of mother earth philosophy and waterfront culture. In the design, the continuity of logical and emotional interchange among different elements on the landscape belt can be seen.
The high unity of architecture and landscape is the characteristics and pursuit of modern design. The design of waterfront road, which breaks the original order between landscape and architecture, closely unites the pattern, layer, color, and fabric of architecture with the site feature and the surrounding environment. Therefore, the architectures and other landscape elements support and complement each other in a harmonious way, thus forming an organic unity. Additionally, the architectures are finely coated with an artistic image to well merge into landscape, so that an urban landscape with strong artistic appeal is achieved. In another word, the architecture, landscape and nature coexist harmoniously. What’s more, the spiritual pursuit of the site, and the material and cultural connotation of the city are well embodied in the landscape, endowing the site with new appeal. In this way, architecture, landscape and the site form a perfect scene, where architecture and landscape melt into the visual whole, and the dimension of visual enjoyment is expanded continuously.