2017 AZ Awards Winner: Landscape Architecture

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To protect land under threat of development in Quzhou City, China, local firm Turenscape devised a sustainable and captivating solution.

Project
Quzhou Luming Park

Location
Quzhou City, China

Firm
Turenscape, Beijing, China

Team 
Zhengmin Gao, Yujie Liu, Xiaojing Lu, Kening Pan and Kongjian Yu with Yuwei Gao, Congzhi Li, Sen Li, Defeng Lu, Ronghua Mei, Nan Meng, Weijing Ning, Yue Qin, Ya Sang, Xingda Wang, Su Zhao and Ziyu Zhao

In a country where development waits for no one, the government of Quzhou, a Chinese metropolis of 2.5 million and counting, put up its hand and said, “Stop.”

Quzhou had already earned the status of National Eco-Model City for its efforts to curb rampant growth along Shiliang Creek. But the creek’s west bank was at the front lines of industrial creep and increasingly under threat. In response, Beijing landscape architects Turenscape developed a sustainable and seductive solution for some 31.3 hectares of neglected but valuable land, ensuring the land’s protection for the foreseeable future.

Whereas much of Quzhou has been levelled for chemical factories and dense housing, Turenscape preserved the natural red sandstone hills of the Shiliang Creek bank and enhanced them with clusters of green. This creates a sense of rich geography in a flat urban context where few peaks rise from the distant horizon.

From here, the land dips south toward the river in swaths of floodplain. Turenscape’s response was to “quilt” it with low-maintenance, naturally irrigated meadows of reeds, grasses and hardy flowering crops that come alive at different times of the year. Brilliant yellow canola blossoms emerge in spring; sunflowers, purple loosestrife and wild chrysanthemums bloom in summer; and liquidambar, hackberry and ginkgo trees are aflame in autumn.

“This is the kind of bio-filtering we can all learn from, where plants are remediating the area while also looking beautiful.” – Nina-Marie Lister

To build anything significant amid this fragile wetland would defeat the project’s purpose – and yet luring people here is the only way to truly safeguard the future of the land. With minimal intervention, Turenscape threaded raised boardwalks – which appear to skim the water – through the park, skirting the forest’s edge so that visitors can peer down into the faces of basking sunflowers. Shady wood-slat pavilions have balconies that jut out over fields of wildflowers and dangle over the river. The goal, says Turenscape, was to “make friends” with the water.

Orchestrating a productive, resilient future for this imperilled environment was an auspicious start to a lasting relationship.

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