The project is located in Liangkou Town, Conghua, Guangzhou, surrounded by national ecological reserves and scenic mountainscapes. The project is adjacent to the Liuxi River and landmark developments including the Hong Kong Racecourse Training Base and the Imperial Springs Conference Center. With aspirations to be an “international cultural capital of eco design”, the project will serve as the permanent home for the World Eco-Design Conference led jointly by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and the China Industrial Design Association with participation from various design and education institutions from over 30 countries.
In alignment with the region’s aspirations, Conghua Eco-Town promotes ideologies of harmonious co-existence between people and nature, cultural preservation, and sustainable future development. The project not only represents a new way of sustainable living but also serves as an exemplar for rural revitalization around the world.
Conghua Eco-town is a landmark urban renewal project, designed to restore a derelict rural site into an international cultural and creative capital for eco design. The first phase includes an entrance to the town and main boulevard, convention center plaza (previously a farmer’s market) and the surrounding public domain. The design approach exemplifies a contemporary interpretation, celebrating local culture, landscape, and future aspirations.
The project consists of four main parts including; a cultural gateway, entry boulevard, and central square with an expansive multifunctional lawn.
Celebration of Culture
Conghua has a history of more than one thousand years and is the origin of Lingnan, Cantonese, and Hakka Culture. The project aims to honor and celebrate this rich cultural heritage. The traditional memorial archway is preserved and restored as a symbol of the town’s identity and represents good health and fortune. The restoration stems from detailed research and includes ornate carved archways with traditional motifs of bats, dancing cranes, and clouds.
1）Tree preservation & Planting
The renovated boulevard includes mostly relocated, transplanted trees from the site to form a long, shady entry experience. The planting plan contains mainly endemic species to reduce maintenance and enhance local biodiversity
2）Sponge City Design
The landscape design integrates onsite water detention and softscape biofiltration areas. The main courtyard contains permeable paving and gravel surfaces to reduce surface flows during heavy downpours.
3）Multifunctional Spaces & Accessibility
The western entrance slope is contained by a series of green terraces. The domain is universally accessible with options for ramp paths and walkways. Around the convention center is a multifunctional area, suitable for daily recreation and organized events.
Tiles feature prominently on the building’s facade as a distinguishable reference to traditional Lingnan architecture. The tiles are selected for their excellent insulation properties, which is ideal for the climate of the Lingnan region. In a reference to the local Lingnan gardens, the tiles are paved in concentric circular patterns, symbolizing water ripples. Bamboos are selected for their sustainability and cultural properties to create both landscape and architectural screens.
Conghua Eco-Town has brought great changes to the local area. In the past two years, the previous “farmer’s market” has been transformed into an “international capital of eco-design” with 76 enterprises entering into the town. At the same time, it has become a new destination for both tourism and international events, which not only promotes the development of the tourism industry but also drives the economic productivity of the surrounding towns and villages. Local villagers also benefit through increased homestay clients and preference for local food at neighborhood restaurants. The project is a catalyst for a future of sustainable rural development and aids the gradual phasing in of further environmentally focused investment.
Role of the entrant in the project: Lead Landscape Architect
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any):
Project location: Gongqing Road, Liangkou Town, Conghua, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, China
Design year: 2018
Year Built: 2018