Beijing firm Turenscape has restored the heavily polluted Puyangjiang River in eastern China and turned its banks into an alluring park, crisscrossed by an elevated network of colourful sinuous boardwalks.
The Puyangjiang River Corridor (PRC) is a water treatment pilot launched in 2014 by the local government. The intention was to reclaim the aquatic ecosystems of this major waterway, after decades of unabated development and industrialisation.
The brief also tasked the designers with improving the overall living conditions of Pujiang, a city of 500,000 located in the basin the river flows through.
Today, the landscape is threaded with pedestrian and bike paths. Flora and fauna have returned, and the river is once again safe for swimming. The PRC, which is 16 km long and includes nearly 200 hectares of adjacent land, attracts thousands of visitors daily, looking to re-engage with nature.
Over the years, concrete channels had come to severely harm the river’s capacity to self-clean. Turenscape’s winning concept called for the concrete edges to be removed and riparian plains to be introduced.
The softening of the riverbanks helps with flood and pollution control. These vegetated stretches slow down and treat surface flows that are coming from nearby farms.
The redesign was sensitive to the native vegetation of the area, preserving species like the Dawn Redwood and Wingnut trees.
The development has also leveraged the history of the precinct by retaining existing structures. Old aqueducts, bridges and water locks have been restored to their former glory.
The project was commissioned by the local government as a part of a campaign to improve the city’s green space.
As a result, the PRC boasts colourful pathways and multi-functional platforms. Bridges span the river and unite communities on each side, reuniting the city to its river.
The PRC approach is exemplary of regenerative design. It protects existing ecosystems and restores ones that have been damaged. It reintroduces social space, making the river an attractive public amenity again.
Check out the Ecogradia podcast episode — season 1, episode 5 — with Yu Kongjian, director of Turenscape, the firm that designed this River Corridor, where he talks about his work.
Novel project is innovative in one or more ways, say material use, passive design, community engagement, etc. Performance, here, might be discussed in quantitative or qualitative ways.
Temperate climates have mid-range temperatures with mild winters and summers where the average in the warmest month is higher than 10° C and the coldest does not drop below 0° C. This climate is common along the coastal regions. Traditional architecture optimises shade for comfort.