Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP), an award-winning landscape architecture firm with more than 35 years of global experience, has just announced completion of a 60 hectare LEED Gold project candidate located in the Beiqijia Technology Business District of the Changping district north of Beijing, China. Commissioned by Beijing Ningke Real Estate, the forward-looking mixed-use development is an ambitious large-scale district in Beijing, through which a full community was created incorporating contemporary architecture and designed landscapes, with a focus on sustainability.
“This project is ground-breaking because design was considered to be as important as function for this large- scale development,” said Martha Schwartz, principal of MSP. “This allowed for a level of creativity applied to an entire community that we think is unparalleled in the region.” The project’s landscape is subdivided into three programmatic zones including commercial/retail/ office, central park/ common area and residential. A striped ground plane pattern permits differentiation within the zones. The ‘strips’ of this pattern become paving, planting or bespoke street furniture, lighting and entry gateway features that forge a memorable identity throughout the site.
The green heart of the project consists of a public Central Park open space that sits adjacent to a series of sunken gardens, framed by raised gardens of perennials, hedges and ornamental grasses. People can sit along the edges or lounge on chairs placed among trees and grass. To the north along Qui Bei Road Promenade is the Eco Zone, a linear landscape with the ecological function of collecting and absorbing storm water runoff from the impervious surfaces of the site. Seating, an area for strolling, and a sculptural gateway structure draws people into the open space. Below the Eco Zone, courtyard gardens and landscapes surround offices with individually designed outdoor spaces.
The residential zone is located at the southernmost band of the site for greater privacy. It offers smaller scaled garden rooms, semi-enclosed by hedges or feature walls to provide intimate landscape experiences. A dynamic, engaging and brilliantly colored children’s play area caters to multiple age groups with a variety of seating elements.
Since LEED Gold accreditation was desired, parameters were observed in the landscape strategy to address sustainable urban drainage, proposed harvesting and reuse of storm-water runoff, plus reduction of urban heat island effect by increasing the green ratio. A long, curving water feature separates, like a scythe, the private residential zone from public buildings. Designed to utilize harvested, treated rainwater collected from the site, this large-scaled water element is a focal point and creates a relaxing experience for residents and visitors alike. Microclimates of the different zones were managed by screening north-westerly winter winds and south- easterly summer winds, which are further cooled by passing over the large shallow water feature. The site includes a demonstration zone completed in 2013 with an accompanying show garden. This allowed a testing ground for materials and plants and permitted the fine-tuning of the design and construction of bespoke furniture and structures.
Name: Beiqijia Technology Business District
Location: Beijing, China
Client: Beijing Ningke Real Estate
Landscape Architect: Martha Schwartz Partners
Size: 60 hectares
Environmental Rating: LEED Gold