The site is located along Fuxi River in a hilly area of Sichuan between Chongqing and Chengdu. It currently consists of derelict housing on top of a steep unusable embankment along the river, and a road that separates the city from the water. The new landscape aims to enliven the waterfront by providing a striking place to connect the city back to the river through the provision of amenity space and identity.
Project Name: Zigong Dongxingsi Precinct Riverfront Park
Architect Name: Martha Schwartz Partners
Location: Zigong, China
Client: Zigong City Construction Investment and Development Size: 50,000 square meters
Status: completed 2019
The landscape concept draws inspiration from the meandering nature and complex patterns of Fuxi River, and the dragon which not only serves as a spiritual symbol to China but alludes to the Dragon Boat Race, one of the major events of this area.
This translates into a fluid landscape concept that correlates with the topography of the site, creating a dynamic nature of landscape corridors which flow through the site and provides unique moments, spaces and elements, incorporating functions and spaces to respond to the festivities, neighborhood amenity and a site that embraces its cultural heritage. The ‘dinosaur ribs’ are a striking sculptural element that repeats along the promenade to celebrate the vast quantities of dinosaur fossils that were excavated in the Middle Jurassic era.
The water edge promenade provides a series of accessible terraces to address the local flooding occurrences, allowing access to the upper levels when lower level flooding occurs. The first level timber deck located in close proximity to the water allows interaction with the water’s edge, including the lantern festival activities. Narrower paths expand to pocket parks and plazas where people can gather and engage with festivities, or contract to smaller rooms for private gatherings. The highest level of the promenade announces destination points where the road terminates at the waterfront junction; all levels are connected with a series of steps and ramps for easy access.
The residential development adjacent to the waterfront park includes a sponge park that absorbs, filtrates and attenuate site storm water run-off to address the recurring flooding concerns of sub-tropical monsoonal rain events. This water feeds the waterfalls along the promenade to create surprising moments that are revealed along one’s journey along the promenade, and promotes ecological education.
The outcome is a world class destination that provides a diverse range of attractive uses that engage communities, and celebrates the connection between the river and city as well as Zigong’s cultural heritage.
Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP)
Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP) is a leading international design practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating urban sites and city centres. Situated at the intersection of public realm, urban design and site specific art, MSP has 40 years of experience designing and implementing installations, gardens, civic plazas, parks, institutional landscapes, corporate headquarters, master plans, and urban regeneration projects. MSP works with city leaders, planners and builders at a strategic level so as to advocate for the inclusion of the public landscape as a means to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability. MSP’s work demonstrates a deep commitment to the urban landscape as it performs as the platform for sustainable cities that are healthy across all aspects, sectors, and domains of urban life.
With offices in London, New York and Shanghai, MSP is engaged in projects and consultation around the globe and has to date worked on projects in over 40 countries and six continents. The core team of design professionals consists of landscape architects, urban planners, architects, horticulturalists, field implementation specialists, and senior project managers, with backgrounds from Europe, North America and Asia. This diversity in disciplines and backgrounds affords MSP the agility to work across all scales and cultures, and allows its team to be nimble in even the most challenging urban and social contexts. In addition to its core team of professionals, MSP collaborates intensively with many internationally known architects and external consultants, expanding the breadth of the practice and enabling effective response to any scale of planning or design problem.
MSP understands the urban landscape as the platform upon which human and natural environments can be brought into an artful balance. The engagement of people by bringing delight and playfulness to urban life is fundamental to the practice’s process. The practice strives to create places that are used and beloved by people. Through their design, the practice champions the human need for connection, identity and enjoyment. The creation of humane spaces can, as a result, positively impact sustainability by supporting density and the benefits and efficiencies gained through urban living. MSP’s expertise and commitment to landscape as a means for activating urban sites have led to the design of highly effective and well used public and private spaces. The team’s landscapes, installations, and large urban projects continue to shape the environments they are part of and the lives of the people who use them.
MSP has continually been recognized for its contribution to the field of landscape architecture. The firm has received many international award recognitions, including the ASLA Landmark Award, the ASLA Honour Award, the British Association of Landscape Industries Award in the Regeneration Category, the Chicago Athenaeum Award for Best New Global Design, the CooperHewitt National Design Award and the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence.