A Thriving Sponge City


The Suzhou Huanyuandang Ecological Restoration and Shoreline Linkage Project

Su Zhou Shi, China

With green and ecology as the core theme , the project is the first cross-provincial ecological restoration project in China. Through the design of shoal wetlands, the conceptual form of simulating the migration of fish is introduced.

The water culture from the south of the Yangtze River is integrated into the spatial composition, architectural modeling, plant system and furniture construction, and the sponge system is combined with the landscape design to realize the positive design mode. The restoration of Yuandang ecosystem truly illustrates the “New Space of Jiangnan Culture”.

The ecological design of the shoal wetlands is derived from the concept of “fish migration” and its relationship with the water surface. The water culture from the south of the Yangtze River is integrated into the spatial composition, architectural modeling, plant system, and furniture construction.

The fish-shaped shoals and the natural lake rocks make an ecological transition between the lake and the
land, forming a buffer zone and providing new habitats for birds, fish and other creatures, forming a natural habitat system in which nature and humans coexist.

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The Xianmeng Yuntai area deeply combines the walking system and the concept of the ‘sponge city’, and forms a stepped sponge system through purification systems of different elevations. At the same time, designers have considered the plant system of different postures and different flowering times, so as to create an enriched seasonal change of the scenery.

Leveraging GIS technology to simulate the current terrain, measurements of height differences and hydrodynamics are used to calculate a rational setting for the introduction of a sponge system that combines with the landscape design to realize the positive ecological results.

As part of the landscape design, a hidden landscape flood control walkway was introduced, thus abandoning the previous rigid method of a flood control dike. The design combines the flood control shoreline with the landscape. The terrain, sketches, plants, etc. are naturally integrated with the flood control route, so that the walkway can be hidden in the whole environment, which improves the spatial experience of walking.

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Aerial view-Yuandang Bridge. Photograph courtesy of Tus-Design Group Co.Ltd

The carrying out of this important ecological project relied heavily on the application of ecologically-native materials and advanced design techniques in order to achieve the desired landscape effects in a cost-efficient manner. Additionally, the project adhered to a ‘low intervention’ development program in order to reduce impacts on the greater ecological environment of the site.

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