The Luweiqiao Waterway is located at the estuary of the Xijiang River in the Pearl River Delta, connecting Guangzhou-Foshan urban area. Nowadays, it has become a focal point of development in Sanlong Bay which is next to Guangzhou South Railway Station. Wenhan Lake Park is situated in the central part of the waterway and spans 45.5 hectares, developed in three phases.
Lingnan region has emphasized the management of water in urban planning. The design of the Luweiqiao Waterway and Wenhan Lake aims to create a continuous green river valley along the north-south axis, transforming the development model from inward-facing to one that embraces rivers and natural landscapes. This has turned wasteland into a vibrant public park full of natural enjoyment. The park takes the river dike as a green corridor, connected various attractions and harmoniously coexisting with natural habitats, tidal farmlands, waterfront leisure spaces and public cultural activities. It forms a public activity belt on both sides of the river which connected by pedestrian bridge and enhances the value of waterfront area.
The North Bank Park (Phase 1 and 2) unfolds around the lake, occupying about 12 hectares. In order to preserve the islands and dikes formed by native banyan trees, the lake surface is “divided”, creating a unique feature. The islands have become habitats for egrets, geese, ducks and night herons, while large rocks are scattered under old banyan trees on the dikes, providing resting places with people and a playground for children. The lakeside has expansive lawns, scattered cedars, continuous walking and jogging paths. The shoreline consists mostly of natural revetments with waterfront steps for resting. The beach and amusement area are particularly popular among young people and children. The lakeside “Xin Zhou” service station has become a gathering place for exhibitions and cultural activities, while the pavilions in the water and waterfront promenades create a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. Furthermore, the lake itself serves as an important infrastructure, along with lotus ponds and rain gardens, alleviating urban flooding and serving as a reservoir for rainwater, while providing diverse animal habitats and creating a natural and healthy park environment.
The hill by the lake is formed by the soil excavated during the lake construction. Its summit is the highest point of the park, standing the iconic observation tower, Qilong Tower. The tower is connected to a spiral-shaped elevated walkway that meanders through the crowns of Bauhinia trees. The hilltop and the bridge crossing the river are also connected by walking paths, allowing people to enter the park directly from the bridge.
Beyond the dike, the existing “ponds” have been transformed into natural submerged areas with ecological recreational functions. The extensive wetlands, mudflats and rice fields are favorite foraging places for waterfowl. Paddies, syzygium jambos and tape grass provide a continuous source of food for fish and birds. The gabions and stone piles along the shore create spaces for the growth of fish, shrimp, crabs and shellfish. People can enter these areas through elevated walkways, minimizing the impact on rainwater runoff, animal migration and daily life. Additionally, there are educational display boards providing information about the flora and fauna, as well as picnic tables and benches for rest.
The South Bank Park (Phase 3) connects the north bank through two pedestrian bridges, promoting the contact between north and south and the integrity of the riverside pedestrian system, thus further enhancing the vitality of the core area. The park mainly features linear spaces and utilizes three different height levels of terraces to expand the river’s flood area and create diverse activity spaces that adapt to different water levels. Natural and permeable materials are used throughout the park.
The integration of cultural elements is also a highlighted feature of the entire park. The traditional culture of Foshan is deeply rooted in daily life. We have abstracted elements such as paper cutting, architecture and martial arts, combining cultural genes with structural aesthetics, new life scenes and functions. This has resulted in unique spaces such as the Thousand Paper Cranes Pavilion, Flying Calligraphy Bridge, Cauldron Ear Wall Corridor and New Three-Eyed Bridge, creating cultural scenes of identification that evoke a sense of recognition, allowing both local residents and newcomers to resonate with them.
Since its completion, Wenhan Lake Park has received positive feedback from the community. It has become the most important urban living-room in Sanshan New City, hosting a wide range of diverse public cultural activities, activating the surrounding urban vitality and serving as a notable platform for attracting talents and enterprises. It is a significant milestone in local development and construction, growing together with the city.
Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute
Architecture offices involved in the design: Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute
Location: Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province
Design year: October 2013
Year Completed: October 2022