HASSELL: Tangshan New City, 30 kilometres east of Nanjing, is envisioned as a high-end tourism destination, sensitively developed around the Jiangning region’s abundant historical attractions, waterways and hot springs. HASSELL was commissioned by Nanjing Tangshan Construction Investment Development Company to design the public realm for the new city hub of Tangshan (or ‘Soup Mountain’), where a collection of thriving resorts are located to take advantage of the naturally occurring mineral waters – offering a rejuvenating base for tourist wanting to explore the wider region.
The civic spaces designed by HASSELL comprise a gateway river park with pedestrian bridges, a striking new promenade that stretches across the Tangshan River, and the parks and plazas of the new central business district. The various features of the public realm combine to connect the area’s old-world attractions with the new city’s tourism and hospitality offerings, while establishing distinctive new places for Tangshan, where residents and tourists can relax and socialise at the water’s edge.
An overarching goal of the project was to rehabilitate and connect the natural habitat along the 3.8 kilometres of riverfront that runs through the heart of Tangshan New City. Past development, farming and industrial activity in the area had negatively impacted the health of the Tangshan River and its surrounding landscape, presenting an opportunity to improve both the water quality and the scenic quality of the riverfront. In response, HASSELL prepared the Tangshan Riverfront master plan for the Nanjing Jiangning Planning Bureau, establishing a long-term strategy to help improve the health of the local ecosystem. The strategy included the revegetation of the waterway, the integration of green infrastructure in the riverfront hardscaping, as well as the introduction of bioengineering solutions within the river.
For example, rain gardens and swale pits have been integrated throughout the parkland and along the promenade to provide natural collection points and filtration that capture or cleanse water run-off before it enters the river system. Within the river, the aquatic plants will increase the stability of the riverbank over time, as their root systems develop, while providing a host of environmental benefits including water quality improvement and habitat for wildlife. This first stage of the development is integral to the environmental sustainability of Tangshan New City. It ensures that the waterside environment relates to the surrounding natural corridors, and the broader regional green system is able to support a healthy urban environment for all inhabitants.
The design for the public realm draws inspiration from Tangshan’s unique geological forms and natural hot springs, and aims to create a strong sense of movement, reflecting the rhythm and flow of life along the water’s edge. The river park, positioned at the convergence of Tangshan Old Street, Tangshui River and Tangquan Reservoir, provides a welcoming gateway and connection between the two distinct areas of old and new Tangshan. A destination in its own right, this river zone features pedestrian bridges, parkland play areas, and a sculpture park with richly vegetated spaces and flowing shade canopies. The heightened form of this landscape defines the urban edge of the surrounding business district and creates a focal point of the emerging hillside, as a landmark for visitors arriving into the new city.
A water promenade with bold structural forms provides a new physical and visual connection between the different areas of Tangshan New City. Additionally, a number of secondary pathways and landscape elements use strong geological colours, and topographical layers to highlight the key pedestrian corridors and aid tourist orientation. New green spaces within the city centre incorporate tiered, grass amphitheatres that will support future community activities and cultural gatherings. The green spaces are bordered by prominent trees, offering shade from the sun, while providing a natural screen between the park and city, to minimise the impact of vehicles on the recreational spaces. The river park, promenade and CBD parklands are now open to the public. On completion of the wider development, Tangshan New City will become a hub for tourism and hospitality, offering an exciting array of local leisure experiences, as well as connections to the region’s diverse collection of major attractions, including the nearby Nanjing Tangshan Geopark Museum.
Project Name: Tangshan New City
Location: Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
Client: Nanjing Tangshan Construction Investment Development Co Ltd (Design Development) / Nanjing Jiangning Planning Bureau (Riverfront Master Plan)
Collaborators: Nanjing Tianyuan Civic Design Co Ltd (Water Structure Consultant), Julong Greenland (Local Design Institute)
Scale: 3,120,000 sqm
Year: Riverfront and CBD parklands completed 2015. Work in progress
Photography: Johnson Lin