River Forest Island

SWA Group: A two-mile-long river island in the heart of a city is sculpted, shaped, and forested to provide a refuge for wildlife and people. Utilizing the seasonal flooding regime of the river, River Forest Island demonstrates how these forces can become a positive form-maker for a major new central park in the heart of Changsha. For centuries, the Xiang River has meandered its way through the landscape of Southern China, leaving behind sand bars now lined with concrete walls to control seasonal flooding. Completed in 2014, River Forest Island takes a different direction by honoring the native hydrology of the river and blends natural systems, local culture, and a sandbar into a successful park. Instead of concrete walls, the island utilizes natural wetland terraces as the edge condition. A native forest planting provides a meandering journey of discovery with commanding views and recreational spaces, educating through experience.


Project Title: River Forest Island
Location: Changsha, Hunan Province, China
Completion Date: August 2014
Size: 92 hectares
Scope of Service: Concept, Schematic Design, Design Development, CD Review, Construction Observation
Designers: SWA Group (Xiao Zheng and Sean O’Malley)

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