Puda International Health Retreat is located in Panzihua City and encompasses a total landscape design area of 20 hectares. The area is renowned for its picturesque scenery and beautiful, year-round weather – making it the ideal location for a world-class health retreat.
The project sets out to create a sanctuary for a health conscious community. The project concept ‘Kangyang’, which translates to health and care in Chinese, is used as a philosophical driver for the project, conveying the embracement of nature and the human body with a focus on both physical and spiritual healing.
Over the course of 20 years, the valley has experienced severe environmental degradation as a result of over-farming which has contaminated vast areas of soil and the area’s waterways. A key project objective was therefore to remediate the site and improve environmental standards in line with the philosophy of the project.
During initial analysis, it became apparent that much of the existing development planning and zoning lacked consideration of the mountainous terrains of the area and needs of the local community. The proposed road alignments required heavy earthworks and threatened severe impacts to the environment as well as heightened construction costs. In consultation with the client, a revised planning strategy was achieved that tailored the development response to local conditions and the needs of the local community.
Key Design Moves:
1. Environmental Planning and Analysis through GIS
Through extensive large scale landscape analysis using GIS, the design team worked in close consultation with the local government and the client to adjust previously planned roads to identify inefficiencies, issues and environmental impacts. A revised road infrastructure design was proposed to improve cohesion with the landscape, representing both a positive project and environmental outcome, thanks to minimized earthworks, construction costs and impact to the mountains and waterways.
2. Environmental Remediation
In collaboration with the client, a vision for a new “Natural Sanctuary” that celebrates the mountains and ecology was agreed upon. The project philosophy places emphasis on the promotion of health and vitality of the local flora, fauna and people. Extensive native planting areas are established to restore endemic environments as well as remediation of waterways and contaminated soils. As part of the environmental strategy, all water courses are lined with softscape responses to promote biodiversity and improve hydrophilic performance.
3. The ‘Kangyang’ Way of Life
Overall site planning is based on the ‘Kanyang’ philosophy. This is translated into the landscape design via a visual corridor undulating flowering meadow hillscapes. The softscape response encourages biodiversity by establishing expansive flowering areas for native bees and provides visitors with a scenic landscape experience.
At the heart of Kangyang culture lies the harmonious integration of people and nature. The project achieves this integration by utilizing traditional Chinese ‘Kangyang’ elements such as the traditional agricultural affairs calendar (24 solar terms) and references from ancient medical scriptures by China’s first emperor, ‘The Inner Canon of Yellow Emperor’. A selection of these ancient scriptures and motifs are integrated into various design elements, including the balustrades, pavement and lighting. These interpretive arrangements allow visitors to experience traditional Kanyang culture and appreciate the harmonious symbiosis of people with their natural surroundings.
Project location: Puda Sunshine International Recreation Resort, Renhe District, Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province, China
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2019