Winning design selected for expansive Friendship Park in China's booming 'eco city'

A team led by landscape architecture studio Grant Associates with WilkinsonEyre has won an international competition to design a 41 hectare Friendship Park in northern China’s first and largest ‘eco city’.

At the heart of the landscape will be a conservatory complex comprising five glass biomes, each housing tropical plant collections and water gardens. A wetland centre, an urban dock, play areas, an event lawn and amphitheatre will also be included.

The project is being developed for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, and is envisioned as “an all-season, international tourist destination celebrating the friendship between China and Singapore.” It will be the most high-profile public park within the 30sq km metropolis.

Described as a “fusion of architecture, infrastructure and landscape”, Grant Associates’ masterplan is based around the idea of interlocking contrasting landscapes and characters – like water and land, nature and city – while maintaining a unity in the design with a continuous landform. A network of cycle lanes and pedestrian paths will flow throughout the park.

“Friendship Park is a hugely exhilarating and ambitious project,” said associate Stefaan Lambreghts. “Our vision is to create a sustainable, playful and life enhancing landscape alongside inspiring architecture. Together this will provide a rich variety of spaces in which people can come together to play and learn, and have fun.

“The park symbolises many things. It represents the close relationship between China and Singapore, as well as the connection between people and nature, land and water, shelter and exposure. Friendship Park will exemplify the vital role of public parks in providing space for people of all ages to enjoy a rich variety of experiences with nature.”

The location for the park, alongside the Gu Dao Canal, is currently barren and inhospitable, as it is exposed to north-westerly winds and has salinised soil. The aspiration is to establish an appropriate micro-climate by creating a sheltered park environment, with ridges in the northern reaches of the site that protect people and nature from the prevailing winter winds.

The park’s environmental strategy will utilise solar energy wherever possible. The biomes are placed towards the northern end of the site, away from the shadows of the tall city buildings so they can capture maximum sunlight. Meanwhile, a series of functional waterbodies will manage water flow, improve water quality, and reduce water run-off.

Environmental design consultant Atelier Ten and structural engineer Atelier One are collaborating on the project. Singapore’s National Parks Board (Nparks), the original client behind the city-state’s Gardens by the Bay – which was also designed by Grant Associates – is acting as an advisor to Tianjin Eco-City for the Friendship Park.

Initiated in 2008, Tianjin Eco-City is a bilateral project between China and Singapore aimed at creating a blueprint for the future development of sustainable cities. The first residents moved into the city in 2012. When completed in around 2020, the eco-city will house up to 350,000 people in a low-carbon, green environment.

Friendship Park  eco city  Tianjin  China  landscape architecture  design  Grant Associates  WilkinsonEyre 
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A team led by landscape architecture studio Grant Associates with WilkinsonEyre has won an international competition to design a 41 hectare Friendship Park in northern China’s first and largest ‘eco city’. At the heart of the landscape will be a conservatory complex comprising five glass biomes, each housing tropical plant collections and water gardens. A wetland centre, an urban dock, play areas, an event lawn and amphitheatre will also be
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At the heart of the landscape will be a conservatory complex comprising five glass biomes, each housing tropical plant collections and water gardens / Grant Associates
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