The 11th Jiangsu Horticultural Exposition,as starting point to improve urban culture and tourism,aims to fully demonstrate city’s efficiency in agglomerating and lead development of eastern of Nanjing.
The site of two abandoned cement plants was selected as main pavilion of the Expo because of unique historical memory of industrial heritage—they were included in Nanjing Industrial Heritage Protection List in 2017.
Centered on sustainable integration,the design reshapes value chain of historical industrial sites,constructs ecological chain of abandoned sites,and extends industrial chain of related industries,to bring new life to cement plants and introduce a new chapter in industrial history.
Based on respecting original site texture spatially characterized by horizontality,the design establishes a vertical interlaced space and strengthens horizontal tour route for main exhibition area to present a crisscrossed landscape structure with multilayered information.
The office area in the north,main entrance square, exhibition hall, and exclusive stores are lined up as main tourist area of the Expo.The design provides an exclusive square as an open and dynamic shaded deck space,which can sustainably accommodate a variety of recreational activities,including watching performances, outdoor visits,and dining. In heritage garden area in the middle,the buildings shrouded in plants become fashionable stores and exhibition halls.The independent space inside heritage garden provides a quiet area for visitors to learn and recall history. The main exhibition area and heritage garden,as well as natural relaxation garden adjacent to the forest in the south, are intertwined from north to south, forming a harmonious relationship gradually extending to nature.
Reshaping value chain of historical industrial sites
The landscape is presented in an inclusive and humble posture,retaining industrial traces and historical memories;meanwhile,it makes visitors reflect further on balance between history and natural environment:Nature is not an artificial appendage,and ecological civilization is extension of social civilization.
Soundscape installations in natural relaxation garden themed on Echo of the Earth,Nanjing Memories,and Natural Imagination tell old stories of cement plants and Nanjing. The art lighting shows unique night scenes in different areas. Several gardens bridge the scenes of old sites and new spaces and reproduce scenes of Nanjing depicted by literati to create a new segment of familiar and strange space. To deal with steep slope at the original site,three gabion retaining walls form Gene art installation.
Building ecological chain of abandoned sites
The abandoned cement plants and nearby quarries,which have been mined for years,form an obsolete plant shrouded by bare stones.The design rebuilds ecosystem and embeds low-carbon and carbon-reducing sustainable landscape in the re-greening process.Over 60 species of indigenous plants are used,with an indigenous plant use rate of over 80%,and 45% of buildings are topped with green roofs,30% of facades are vertically greened,and multiple layers of greening are overlaid, presenting a three-dimensional forestscape.
Shabby stones and building debris at the original site were collected and reconstructed into the fillers of ecological retaining walls and later reintegrated with nature by mingling with indigenous flowers and grasses.The plant of cylinder warehouses lies at the highest position in the main exhibition area and increases green coverage and green looking ratio. This place will become an ideal habitat for birds and insects.
Extending industrial chain of related industries
The design includes sustainable use even after the Expo.The convertible indoor and outdoor interactive spaces surrounding main exhibition hall are equipped with complete infrastructure.Coupled with follow-up operation, it will become a multi-functional venue for theme exhibitions, recreational fairs, summit forums, and events, thereby achieving innovative transformation from an obsolete industrial space to a green economic space.
The heritage garden block presets commercial models during and after the Expo, integrates 38 species of plants, including bloomers, fragrant, colored, and nectariferous plants. Moreover, it adds 19 kinds of aromatic plants,5kinds of medicinal plants, and 4 kinds of edible plants. The site and the exhibits are designed such that outdoor garden area serves as a temporary space exhibiting rare and valuable bonsais where visitors can appreciate and buy them.
Opened in April 2021, the main pavilion receives an average of approximately 40,000 visitors per day and draws constant attention from mainstream media, including CCTV, People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency.
The three-dimensional space can no longer accommodate unregulated landscape growth in this industrial site.Thus,only by superimposing dimension of “time” can guarantee growth and rejuvenation of the whole life cycle of site.
Architecture offices involved in the design: Cuikai Studio of China Architecture Design & Research Group
No. 8 Shenghu Road, Tangshan Street, Jiangning District, Nanjing, China.
Design year: 2019-2020
Year Built: 2020-2021