Tianjin Eco-City


designed by /



Location: China / Tianjin / Type: Parks / Riverbanks / Waterfronts / Wetland / Built: 2023 /
Published on May 5, 2017

The Sino-Singapore Friendship Park in Tianjin Eco-City celebrates the strong relationship that exists between Singapore and China, welcoming visitors of all ages. Recognising the vital role that public parks play in allowing people to enjoy a rich variety of experiences in nature, Friendship Park’s design is built around spatial opposites – water and land, nature and city, sheltered and exposed – while a continuous landform maintains the overall design coherence.

Inspired by the central creative theme of interlocking fingers between friends, the park offers significant contrast and diversity on site, with the interlocking concept applied to both the park’s layout and in the finer detail. Throughout the site, interlocking hexagons have been used as a recurring pattern within the paving and on textured walls.

Grant Associates won the design competition to transform the then-barren park in 2016, and worked in close collaboration with Eco-City, TEDA and NParks on the implementation on site to realise the vision for the Sino-Singapore Friendship Park. The design approach combines Singaporean’s appreciation of immersive nature with an understanding of the local Tianjin context. The result is a truly unique park that is versatile enough to support a wide range of weather extremes. Faced with the harsh challenges of freezing winters, exacerbated by relentless northwest winds sweeping over the Gu Dao canal, the extreme environment rendered the site once inhospitable for both plants and people. However, the park’s ingenious landform and Secret Gardens now provide elegant yet simple solutions that offer shelter and protection for both flora and visitors.

Besides being wind shelters, the Secret Gardens are enchanting attractions dotted around the site offering different planting themes and activities. One of these, the Wind Garden, is enclosed by a captivating kinetic wall, comprised of delicate hexagonal aluminium plates. The gracefully curving walls respond dynamically to the wind, with the plates oscillating alongside swaying ornamental grasses. The ever-shifting colour tone of the plates results from their interaction with the sunlight, with the intensity of the changes dependent on wind speeds.

The aim was always to design the Sino-Singapore Friendship Park as an inviting space for all seasons and for the people of Tianjin, seeking to create a park that residents could enjoy and explore, one they would want to revisit time and again, and that would offer new discoveries with each visit. The park was envisioned as a place to spend time with loved ones, to be immersed in nature, and to create lasting memories.

Addressing the challenging climate was the primary focus in designing Friendship Park. The design was meticulously developed with an understanding of the harsh conditions of the original site and a vision for a new microclimate more conducive to both plants and people. Friendship Park now stands as a testament to the essential role public parks play in providing spaces for people to enjoy a diverse range of experiences with nature.

Throughout Friendship Park, beauty is found in every corner, with a design approach focused on creating connections and fostering diversity. Paths meander across the site, while a skywalk atop the landform provides panoramic views of the park and waterfront.

The park offers contrasts alongside strong cohesion, achieved through hexagonal interlocking patterns, secluded gardens, intentionally zigzagging layouts, and ever-changing perspectives. These elements combine to provide distinct and memorable landscape experiences for all to enjoy, regardless of the season.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Grant Associates

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