Located in the Advanced Technology Industries Development Zone of Zhengzhou, Vanke City is one of the biggest new town developments in China. Spanning more than 100 hectares, Zhengzhou Vanke City will provide homes for more than 30,000 households in the coming decade. The Sales Gallery is to showcase a new urban environ to the future residents, meeting the ever increasing demand for residential developments in the area.
Set to become the benchmark for the entire regional precinct, the main objective for the landscape environment is to create a distinctive identity for the arrival plaza in a post-industrial context where topography is generally flat, marking the germination of an entire new town. The interweaving paths of the front plaza encapsulate the large flow of pedestrian traffic. Along with a series of elevated landforms, the landscape seeks to echo the multi-faceted crystalline architectural facade. This constructed topography starts to augment the flat site into an ever-changing landscape experience for visitors. Integrated with dry fountains and children’s play zones, the urban square is soon becoming a popular meeting place, creating its own context and identity in an area of overriding tabula rasa.
A 1, 500-square-metre reflecting pool separates the front plaza and rear garden. Subtle pool fountains provide vivid reflections to the architecture and landscape environment. Slated to transform into a Community Centre in the future, the building will fulfill public amenities for residents including the kids and elderly. In contrast to the large-scale urban square, the show unit areas aim to provide a conducive environment for leisure and recreation with a series of smaller scaled spaces. These gardens include a Zen Garden, Albizzia Boulevard, Water Courtyard, Maple Terrace, Sunken Deck and Sunny Poolside. These landscape environments integrate to form a cohesive whole with the arrival experience.
The Central Plaza continues a dynamic design language established with Arrival Square launched in 2013. As a precursor to a host of social and community programs for a new residential precinct, the plaza is envisioned to accommodate a high demand for civic spaces and recreational activities for its future residents. In so doing, we hope that the plaza serves not only as an events venue for commercial activities, but also an interesting node for the public and residents alike to congregate, interact and play in the neighborhood for many years to come.
The notion of social interaction tends to be casual in Western cultures. People converse randomly in the parks, lawn and alfresco cafes. Conversely in Eastern cultures and especially with the Chinese, they are more introverted in nature. Many take the opportunity to gather for active sports such as tai-chi, dance and a host of other exercises. In particular, the playgrounds for kids and teens alike are the most popular that encourage participation and enliven the public realm.
The landscape strategy was to charge the plaza with a wide range of programs designed for the young and old. These include a Dry Fountain, a Mist Garden, the Runway, a Children’s Rock Climbing Wall, a Sunken Playground and a Skating Rink with seating areas dotted all around to encourage a ‘see-and-be-seen’ social interaction. The animated Star Promenade, made of environmentally friendly resin-bonded granules, strings together these independent spaces and leads the public to the future diagonal shopping street.
Towards the shopping area in the north, a series of alfresco spaces integrated with reflecting pools and water cascades are created to breakdown the scale of the long commercial facade. The sound of water along with open lawns buffers the retail zone from the busy Central Plaza as a quieter atmosphere conducive for food and beverage.
As the population of Zhengzhou Vanke City continues to grow and more amenities in the vicinity complete, the Central Plaza will prove to become a popular, memorable and important hub for all who frequent the precinct. We endeavour every opportunity in the place making of this public sphere as more civic spaces unfold in the near future.
Entrant office name: LOCUS ASSOCIATES LTD.
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Consultant – Concept/ Schematic/ Design Development/ Construction Review
Other design firms involved: Local Design Institute – Doyen Landscape
Project location: Zhengzhou, China
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2013