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West 8 urban design & landscape architecture b.v.

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West 8 wins Guangzhou Fangcun Huadi Sustainable Urban Master Plan, China

On 8th February, the Guangzhou City Government announces that West 8’s entry has won the Guangzhou Huadi Fangcun Sustainable Master Plan competition.

Guangzhou Huadi Fangcun (Flower City), located at Southern China, is a former delta land with traditional horticultural legacy of nowadays Guangzhou. With speedy expansion of the horticultural industry, the current scattered and disorganized land use of the area has pushed back the nature and its eco system is severely polluted. The Guangzhou Government is in search of a sustainable solution to the current problem in the era of rapid urban development. West 8’s winning entry provides the city a masterplan with sustainable vision.

The plan has the site area of 2,050 ha. (20.5km2), whereas more than 450 ha. is wetlands area. It consists of new living and industrial environments with ecological water system, wetlands, distinct division of land use zoning, urban planning with a highlight of cultural heritage and a design of an International Flora Expo Masterplan which will function as a focal point and economic generator for the whole development.

Ecological Cleaning System and Distinctive Land Division

The Masterplan vision starts with the introduction of an ecological water system network. Implementing this system will rearrange the land use structure on a large scale. It consists of the main ecological cleaning machine imbedded in locations, a Primary Water Collector System, Secondary Water Connector with Water Locks (Inlets/Outlets) and Tertiary Water Network of Small Scale Ditches (canals) which will be streaming along the gridline corresponding to the Guangzhou and Fushan cities historical axis, the Canton axis. It will create a systematic land use for horticulture industry purposes, improve logistics and allow keeping CO2 emission low.

This strategy also helps to identify a robust structure for healthier urban development. West 8 proposes a zoning plan with distinctive division between horticultural land use and urban area. This involves a careful implementation of the new ecological water system network while preserving the major existing infrastructure, historical monuments and also recent housing development. Although reallocation of the industrial developments and housing areas will take place, distinctive architectural guidelines are given to guarantee the better quality of urban design. Shadow is emphasized; pocket parks and green inner courtyard within city and a riverside park with bicycle lane will be introduced. A Central Park will also be established by hosting the Guangzhou International Flora Expo in the first phase of the development. This Expo will be designed as a compact event. After the year when the expo takes place it will be transformed into a metropolitan park of Guangzhou: the Central Park of Huadi Island.

International Flora Expo “Sensations”

The Flora Expo design consists of different theme areas: The compact core area, Flower Fields, Romance Gardens, Hidden / Secret Gardens, The Herbs Garden and Gardens of Sound. One of the key features will be The Palace of Flowers which locates at the centre point of the urban expo Canton axis.

The Palace of Flowers is the iconic main building of the flower show and is situated in such a way that it can be easily seen from the highway and from the high-speed train service. An Expo boulevard will be introduced as a circular track of circa 40m wide which runs along all compact sensation gardens. The boulevard helps visitors to orientate on the site.

Flower Expo Village with modern greenhouse (tradition meets innovation)

A special exposition feature is the Flower Expo village. The village layout is based on the original core parcellation of the former peasant village. Water canals enclose and determine the historic structure of the former village and transform it into a small city of canals. The canals also connect the village to the rest of the expo site which allows a visit of the expo by boat. The restoration of the village includes partly rebuilding historical buildings which can be used as museums, showing the historical way of trading plants and executing horticulture. Restaurants, hotels, and accommodations will be located here. This Flower Expo village is car free. After the Expo event the village stays a museum, hotel or restaurant village at the Central Park of Huadi Island. It will become a living symbol of the combination of tradition with innovative technology.

Huadi Flower City Housing

Part of the modern housing blocks in the new Huadi Flower city will be reserved for the resettlement of present inhabitants of nearby villages. The housing blocks consist of compact and rather long building blocks with an average height of 6 storeys. The buildings are situated in the eastern part of the island in green open city block structures.

Horticultural High Tech development

An area attached to the housing site in the South East is dedicated to research purposes of horticultural and herbal medical uses. This area is established to take position in the world market of horticulture. Meanwhile it provides a buffer between the housing uses of the Flower City and the industrial site in the South of the island.

Industrial uses

Industrial uses are gathered around the Southern part of the site area. Two compact sites on each side of the River offer space for industrial enterprises. One is situated on the Huadi Island around the steel factory. The other site is clustered around the industrial uses of the eastern part, the tobacco factory, the sewerage plant and other uses. Both areas are logistically well connected to the road network of Guangzhou. Industry that is currently settled in the Northern part of Huadi Island has to be resettled to the industrial sites. Clustering according to usage strengthens the potential of the site: enterprises can share the same energy sources, better logistics and security system.

Merchandising uses

Around the existing market area a new trading district for horticultural purposes will be established. This area is reserved for trading, sales, auctions and expositions of plants. The cluster is representative of horticulture as a whole. The area also frees the horticultural sites from small scale sale on site, which increases the production efficiency of the greenhouse farmland.

Rearranging Farmland

All farmland will be rearranged in order to create better economical conditions for executing horticultural activities. The idea behind the reorganization of farmland is to cluster certain enterprises and to bring together scattered ownership on one coherent site. Each farmer and entrepreneur gets an equivalent amount of m² which he used to exploit before. The new plot is highly efficient and logistically well connected and equipped with a connection to a communal wastewater sewage system.

Peasant Villages

The peasant villages on the Huadi Island will be restructured. Meanwhile, the ancient core structure of the neighbourhoods won’t be wiped out from the urban tissue layout completely. We regard the typological organically shaped core structure as monument of the urban layout of Guangzhou. The grid structured outer extensions of the villages will be removed from the older parts. In the retained structures roads must be modernized and a sewerage system must be implemented. Buildings have to be renovated; buildings have to be rebuilt; buildings have to be replaced by modern buildings, realized in the same height, typology and on the same grain of plot size as the existing ones. Central public squares and schools have to be updated and renovated.

Quality of life

All together a coherent recreation and mobility network is created consisting out of boulevards, squares and parks, which fulfill both excellent access and a high quality of life.

Editors Notes:

About Guangzhou Fangcun Huadi area

Guangzhou Huadi, located in Southern China, 170km North of Hong Kong, has the heritage of thousand years Lingnan culture. It is typically contrasted with Zhongyuan culture, that of China’s northern plains. Lingnan culture has its distinctive architectural feature, painting style, literature and food culture. The daily life of the Southern Chinese is a life style which cherishes the floral and botanic culture extensively. International Flower Exhibition, Annual Flower Market during Chinese New Year time, and the weekly flower market are the renowned events of the area. The name ‘Huadi’ in Chinese means ‘Flower Village’.

West 8 is an award-winning international office for urban design and landscape architecture founded in 1987. Over the last 20 years West 8 has established itself as a leading practice with an international team of 70 architects, urban designers, landscape architects and industrial engineers. West 8 developed projects all over the world in places such as Copenhagen, London, Moscow, New York, Madrid, Toronto and Amsterdam. The office gained international recognition with projects such as Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam (NL), Borneo-Sporenburg in Amsterdam (NL), Chiswick Park in London (UK) and Expo ’02 in Yverdon-les-Bains (CH). Many of the projects are the result of groundbreaking entries in important international competitions. Recently won competitions include Toronto Waterfront in Toronto (CA), Governors Island in New York (USA) and Playa de Palma in Mallorca (ES).

Amongst the numerous awards received by West 8 are the Honor Award of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Lifetime Achievement Award for Architecture 2011, Mondriaan Fund (formerly BKVB),  the International Urban Landscape Gold Award (IULA), the Prix de Rome, the Dutch Maaskant Award, the Bijhouwer Award, the Rosa Barba First European Landscape Prize, the Green Pin and the Veronica Rudge Green Prize for Urban Design.

For more information: Public Relations, Winnie Poon or Jan Breukelman, +31 (0)10 – 485 58 01, pr@west8.com, www.west8.com