The City of Suzhou, China has announced TLS Landscape Architecture, Berkeley, California as the winner of the Lion Mountain Park Design Competition. The new 74-hectare urban park, built on the grounds of an old amusement park and pond, is anchored by Shishan (Lion) Mountain.
The park will become the key amenity of the newly-developing Suzhou High-Tech District. Lion Mountain forms the core of a new urban ecosystem complex and is united with the newly enlarged Shishan Lake by a great circular promenade which also organizes new development parcels surrounding the park.
The project will be a unique urban effort to renew and regenerate mountain, forest, and aquatic environments using natural processes and the time-honored Chinese concept of Shanshui – the union of mountain and lake. An extensive public art program will draw on local cultural and artistic traditions in the heart of an ancient city famous for its historic core with architecture and courtyard gardens of UNESCO World Heritage status.
The work of the competition coincided with the Chinese government’s announcement of dramatically new Urban Work Guidelines emphasizing the importance of sound ecological and urban development practices including “Sponge City”, and recovery of local character and sense of place that is difficult to achieve in most new-city programs throughout China.
Lion Mountain Park will be the first large scale public project in China constructed to demonstrate these new principles. Shishan Lake will be doubled in size and its water quality raised from a murky Level 3 to a sparkling Level 1 through the creation of a new sustainable watershed – harvesting annual rainfall and naturally cleaning new development area run-off that typically goes into overwhelmed city systems and intensifies downstream flooding.
As the circular promenade unfolds around the site it will become the prime venue for daily social life modeled on the famous Ten Scenes of West Lake in Hangzhou. The park will create a unique high-value urban focus based not on the typical use of architectural monuments but on a diverse and flourishing nature and an ancient geological landmark named long ago for its resemblance to the head of a guardian lion. Soon this lion will roar once more! Construction will start in March, 2017. Source by TLS Landscape Architecture.
- Location: Suzhou, China
- Architects: TLS Landscape Architecture
- Team: Kevin Daly Architects, Los Angeles, Kuth/Ranieri Architects, San Francisco
- Structural Engineer: Guy Nordenson and Assoc., New York, Endres Studio, Emeryville, CA
- Sustainable Watershed Planning: Lotus Water, San Francisco
- Public Art Consultant: Betti-Sue Hertz, San Francisco
- Year: 2016
- Images: Courtesy of TLS Landscape Architecture
Article by Marco Rinaldi