Award of Excellence

Wusong Riverfront Pilot Project

Kunshan, China

SWA Group

Lead Landscape Architect: Hui-Li Lee

Team Members: Roy Imamura, Bob Jacob, Chih-Wei Chang, Zachary Davis, Mandana Parvinian, Minhui Li, Yoonju Chang

Client: Huaqiao Economical Development Zone Programme Building Bureau

As part of a riverside mixed-use development, this project takes advantage of the degraded topography of a former brick yard 's deep clay pits and transforms the site into a natural water treatment system improving water quality for future downstream eco-sensitive development.

Through a sequence of several deep water pools (formally clay pits) and treatment channels, pollutants are removed through natural processes. Both river water and re-routed storm water pass through the same system. The design reconnects the population with the cleaner water through educational programs and a series of gardens, plazas, activity areas, fountains, all interconnected by bicycle and pedestrian paths. In this way the design is an educational experience, where the community witnesses the process of water cleansing.

The project serves as a model for responsible riverside development and built wetland technology, expanding current perceptions of designed landscapes from passive ornament to active, complex systems capable of providing ecosystem services and enacting change.