The field of landscape architecture faces a growing responsibility to address climate change. According to Turenscape, such a daunting challenge should also be considered a major opportunity to create positive, uplifting transformation. That is where Fish Tail Park, the firm’s astonishing achievement in China’s Nanchang City, truly shines.
In a region that has dealt with increasingly destructive monsoon seasons, the 51-hectare landscape signifies the rebirth of a “badly abused” fish farm as a flood-proof archipelago forested with tree species that can survive fluctuating water levels. Inspired by the ancient concept of farming atop marshland, the firm recycled the coal ash that had been routinely dumped on the site (from nearby power plants) and mixed it with dirt from the fish pond dykes to create numerous islets and a lake. While the “floating forest” performs myriad ecological functions, from regulating stormwater to providing a habitat for wildlife, its main purpose is to deliver a recreational environment for the city’s inhabitants. Prefab concrete boardwalks, bridges, viewing platforms and an overpass with an art gallery and cafeteria put them in direct communion with nature.
The impressive project offers a replicable model (with an extremely modest budget of around US$43 per square metre) for regions prone to extreme weather. A bonus for the city of Nanchang: It has become a landmark stop on the subway system, which now shuttles tourists and locals directly to one of the most majestic artificial parklands in Eastern China.
Also an AZ Awards winner in Landscape Architecture, Fish Tail Park more than deserves this second commendation in Environmental Leadership. It transforms a heavily polluted dumping ground and fish farm into an urban oasis that regulates stormwater, provides habitat for birds and other wildlife and has quickly become one of the most visited parks in the entire city. Built for just US$43 per square metre, it offers a replicable model for monsoon climates that can address the multiple challenges of floods, habitat restoration and recreational demands. It also shows that it is possible to open up new space in cities not just for people but also for nature.
Team Kongjian Yu with Hongqian Yu, Yuan Fang, Hui Tong, Jianmin Jia, Dezhou Wang, Haixu Wang, Xuanying Wen and Lingxue Chen (Turenscape); Rui Wang, Minghui Ban, Yunying Chen, Chao Zhang, Jiahao Liu, Xiaoming Wang, Fan Zhang, Jingri Jiang, Fumin Yu, Wei Zhang, Rao Chen, Ang Lu and Songtao Huang
Floating Forest Fish Tail Park shows that it is possible to open up new space in cities not just for people but also for nature.