The fivefold Park for Airport International Town, Hefei by

2024 Infrastructure Projects / China / Built in 2023 /

The 42-hectare “city’s living room,” characterized by lush greenery and blue spaces, comprises a unified series of five connected parks. This cohesive parkland is integral to the masterplan of the Airport International City.

The design combines a vibrant park for people, flora, and fauna with the critical need for stormwater management. Airport International Town was faced with the challenge to ensure flood protection and to avoid insufficient water balance and water ecological deterioration. Further, The Baojiaosi Lake is one of the core water systems in the region. Ecological restoration was needed to avoid water pollution and ecological damage. The design challenge was to transform the technical requirements into a livable, enjoyable, experienceable, biodiverse urban green and blue space.

The design process was an interplay between open design iterations, the integration of technical engineering specifications and the local needs. Experts in the fields of landscape design, urban design, botanical expertise, hydrology, canal systems, ecologists and water decontamination and restauration engineers developed inventive solutions. The set-up of the joint venture “Wasser Hannover” enables a close working relationship between German and Chinese specialists.

Key components:
1. Inviting Design: The park is meticulously designed to naturally invite people, offering spaces for informal meetings, physical activities, and peaceful retreats. It aims to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all visitors.
2. Decentralized Drainage: By relying entirely on decentralized drainage, the park effectively addresses flood problems and mitigates the impact of extreme weather events. Due to the comprehensive design of the floodplain park in combination with the wetland, the pipes in the canal system could be build much smaller, substantially reducing the amount of concrete produced.
3. Model Park: As a lighthouse project, the parkscape is intended to serve as a model for future parks within the larger development of the airport city project. It sets high standards for the development of the following four parks of the Airport International Town.
4. Soft Mobility: The park and the adjacent parkway road prioritize soft mobility, providing a stark contrast to the dominance of eight-lane roads in the region. The parkway road, designed within the scope of this project, promotes sustainable transportation options.
5. Ecological Measures: Nature-based design elements such as dense and open habitats, aquatic features, and intentional biodiversity enhancements, significantly improve water quality. These measures replace traditional concrete infrastructure, thereby fostering a healthier and more diverse ecosystem within the park.

Five parks coalesce into one open space.

A diverse riverine landscape

The northern part of the park features a diverse riverine environment, carefully curated to create a harmonious blend of meadows and forests. The surface water drained from the surrounding urban areas is collected and temporarily stored in retention basins before flowing into the dry creek. This facilitates natural water purification processes and contributes to the overall ecological balance of the park.
The central Wadi is playfully integrated with bridges, steppingstones, rocks, and plants. Its diverse floodplain further acts as a catch basin for precipitation and floods. The park’s promenade provides visitors with diverse leisure and sports options and serves as an intersection to the adjoining residential neighborhood.

The wet biotope

The wadi drains the flood water into the wetland to further clean and delay the surface water. Circular footbridges and terrace levels provide close encounters with flora and fauna, while small islands offer vantage points for observing dynamic water levels and promoting biodiversity in Hefei.

Waterfront terraces – an urban public space

The urban eastern shore of the lake reservoir invites for a promenade. Surface water is cleaned in several raingardens, eco-islands swim in the reservoir to further ensure clean water by creating habitats for symbiotic microorganisms. Locals and visitors can enjoy a dip in the water in a waterfront bath.

The forest

South of the promenade, small paths wind their way through a woodland. Humans, flora and fauna live in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. A shallow, natural shore makes the lake tangible.

From concrete dam to Eco-shore

The dam of the reservoir was transformed into an ecological bank by applying and securing sediment. The resulting shallow water zone strengthens the local aquatic flora and fauna. A Platform offers a rest above the eco-shore.

The fivefold park is thoroughly designed to accommodate extreme flood events and offers space for rest, informal encounters, play, sports, and recreation. A new experience is crafted at the diverse, nature-based shore sections of the Baojiaosi Lake.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: Joost Emmerick for botanical expertise
Architecture offices involved in the design: CITYFÖRSTER architecture + urbanism
Cooperation with: itwh GmbH, Pabsch Ingenieure GmbH, IaG GmbH, M&P Energy GmbH

Location: Hefei, Anhui Province, China, 31°58’47″N 117°01’40″E

Design year: 2019-2020

Year Completed: 2023


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