Yinzhou Municipal Planning Bureau
in collaboration with
Thurlow Small Architecture
Honor Award for Design
Yinzhou Park is the 78 hectare centerpiece of a new city district for 80,000 people in the historic Pacific Ocean port city of Ningbo. The park spaces are conceived as ‘hyper-real’ – a landscape that amplifies curving geometries to allow for self-organized growth with ecological, social and economic sustainability.
ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY is directed toward creating water that flows although the terrain is remarkably flat. Water flows more as a result of “push” rather than topographical flow, or gravity. To maintain flows, the edges of the water are contoured so that even modest flows will travel along the banks to eliminate any eddying or pooling that might trap stale water. Five “push-flow” fountains, one for each block, are elevated as high points – raised fountains that engage the public with water – to release, flow, and push water through the park.
SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY is accomplished through programming the park with a youth center, restaurants, museums, and smaller facilities that draws all ages of the public to the park for many occasions. There are terraces for the public display of exercising that is particularly Chinese and the paths through the park are organized so the park is an everyday pass-through for children and adults walking or bicycling to school or work. Most importantly, the park is free. Most new parks in China require modest entrance fees and thus, also require perimeter fences or security. In contrast, Yinzhou Park has a fully porous perimeter that will allow casual and carefree access to the public space at no cost.
ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY has to be ensured, especially since the park has no entrance fee. The landscape architect introduced the financial strategies of park event management, vendor management, and facility management to the municipality. The private events and businesses will generate sufficient economic activity in Yinzhou Park to sustain and maintain the park. A development levy is also proposed for the new sites adjacent to the park to assist in the construction costs.
GEOMETRIC INNOVATION is explored with inventive line/arc geometries to structure the edges and spaces of the park. These geometries are defined by a set of circles that pull and extend the hard, soft and constructed canal banks. These circles also function as ‘program puddles’ – pools of activities or ecologies defined by textures of ground (e.g. an overlook terrace), water (e.g. the rock jetty), or by plantings (e.g. the underwater fish havens planted with a circle of reeds). The Park is in the flood plain of the FengHua River and is integrated into the regional water supply and flood control systems. It is distinguished from the common flood control areas by the variable course and widths of the water typologies – the meander, the canal, the lake, the stream, and the fens – and the cultural program of museums, sculpture gardens, restaurants, and youth center that are integrated into the plan.