Yangzhong Island, China
studio505 designed the winning competition entry for the Yangzhong Horticultural exhibition, located within China’s Jiangsu province. The exhibition was created to showcase the city of Yangzhong as a economic and cultural powerhouse in 21st century China.
studio505’s highly conceptual proposal drew upon the location of Yangzhong on the Yangtze river, and how these river forces have shaped and defined the city.
Yangzhong is a land defined by its relationship to the river. One of the biggest islands along the Yangtze river, Yangzhong island was formed around 300 years ago as a result of a major flood. Yangzhong sits in a balance between creation and erosion. The erosion of the land by the mighty Yangtze is balanced by the alluvial deposits the river brings.
The depositing of materials and subsequent forming of land provides the conceptual framework for the Yangzhong masterplan. The image of a log jam, a collection of elements thrown together by the forces of the river, piled against one another and collected through the force of the current, ultimately give the Yangzhong Expo its form.
The principles behind the building locations were to best distribute the functions to support the exposition operation, but also the future operations of the proposal.
The buildings are effectively located to the four corners of the site, allowing the axis to be reinforced across to the Xisha island site, and also to allow each facility to create an identity within the site.
The public spaces and circulation is biased to the north of the site, accessing the river via the central axial network of paths, or along the northern bank of the canal.
Landform Axis & Views
The original masterplan proposed a 20m hill be created in the centre of the axis. studio505 proposed that this earth moving be shifted to each side, to create a landscaped arrangement of terraces and gardens and walls that build a landscape of character, and conceal the level wall. This axial model, that builds an entry podium, locating services and carpark beneath, gave the project the opportunity to stand at the front of the site and see an axis to the island.
studio505 maintained the full quota and definition of the exhibition grounds as per the original masterplan. studio505 decided to reposition some of the specialist grounds to better position these sites to capture attention and form part of the overall spectacle of the show.
By utilising and creating a geography of terracing and height, a differentiated set of grounds were created, not simply grounds that were all the same, as was done in the original masterplan. This allowed the grounds themselves to conceal the levee bank, and to create an extremely exciting landscape within which to walk.
Waterways & Pools
studio505 considered in their proposal the nature of the relationship between the landscape and the water. The proposal saw a series of water features, embedded within the landscape in a way that mimics the formation of actual lochs and lakes through alluvial river actions, rather than an artificially calm and ‘naturalistic’ stream. These water bodies were not created with golf course type edges, but from a series of curated, horticulturally designed pools, that overlap, intertwine and cluster together- some deep, some shallow, some tiled in rich patterned tiling, others filled with lotus. Rather than being confused with the adjacent river, these waterways were to be celebrated as playgrounds and features.
Navigation & Exploration
A network of pathways delivered a matrix of travel that creates suspense, intrigue and the desire to explore. studio505 mapped a network that provides ultimate simplicity in wayfinding via a hierarchy of connections, whilst ensuring that there are only single strings of exhibition grounds between main roads. This allowed visitors to navigate through every ground in a manner that does not require entering and exiting from the same point, and walking the entire way around a circular road. It is an engaging process of travel, not simply a street full of gardens to visit or miss.