LOCUS ASSOCIATES: The Central Plaza continues a dynamic design language established with Arrival Square launched in 2013. As a precursor to a host of social and community programs for a new residential precinct, the plaza is envisioned to accommodate a high demand for civic spaces and recreational activities for its future residents. In so doing, we hope that the plaza serves not only as an events venue for commercial activities, but also an interesting node for the public and residents alike to congregate, interact and play in the neighborhood for many years to come.
The notion of social interaction tends to be casual in Western cultures. People converse randomly in the parks, lawn and alfresco cafes. Conversely in Eastern cultures and especially with the Chinese, they are more introverted in nature. Many take the opportunity to gather for active sports such as tai-chi, dance and a host of other exercises. In particular, the playgrounds for kids and teens alike are the most popular that encourage participation and enliven the public realm.
The landscape strategy was to charge the plaza with a wide range of programs designed for the young and old. These include a Dry Fountain, a Mist Garden, the Runway, a Children’s Rock Climbing Wall, a Sunken Playground and a Skating Rink with seating areas dotted all around to encourage a ‘see-and-be-seen’ social interaction. The animated Star Promenade, made of environmentally friendly resin-bonded granules, strings together these independent spaces and leads the public to the future diagonal shopping street.
Towards the shopping area in the north, a series of alfresco spaces integrated with reflecting pools and water cascades are created to breakdown the scale of the long commercial facade. The sound of water along with open lawns buffers the retail zone from the busy Central Plaza as a quieter atmosphere conducive for food and beverage.
As the population of Zhengzhou Vanke City continues to grow and more amenities in the vicinity complete, the Central Plaza will prove to become a popular, memorable and important hub for all who frequent the precinct. We endeavour every opportunity in the place making of this public sphere as more civic spaces unfold in the near future.
Project Location: Zhengzhou, China
Client: Zhengzhou Vanke
Landscape Architect: LOCUS ASSOCIATES
Design Lead: Brandon Huang
Design Team: Jerome Lee, Kenny Fung, Ray Wan, Jonathan Dones, Katevin Kuang, Ken Qiu
LDI: Chongqing Daoyuan
Design/Implementation : Dec 2013 / May 2014
Site Area: 10,500 SQM
Photographer: Béton Brut
There is a perimeter circulation that loops the major buildings around the large plaza together. But we wanted shortcuts to further connect various nodes and fragment the site into a more comfortable human scale.
The Central plaza is the most active hub for Zhengzhou Vanke City. We envisioned attracting people of all age groups to participate in various active and passive programs in this civic space.
We overlaid the shortcuts onto the programs that resulted in an initial form of the plaza. With a complex network of routes, activity nodes were re-distributed and long laborious paths were avoided.
Taking cues from the most significant immediate context, we wanted to channel a further flow of energy from the west riverfront park to the future east diagonal shopping street. For this very reason, we introduced the star promenade.
We pushed and pulled the earth to create different landforms. They frame view corridors, provide embankments for safety and create interactive spaces to see-and-be-seen.
Spaces are clearly defined by a myriad of water features. A dry fountain and a mist garden create interactive active spaces for kids, whilst the reflecting pools and water cascades abut alfresco decks form quieter dining spots.
We integrated the edges of the landforms to become long benches, sunken spaces to become a skating rink, kids’ rock climbing wall and kids’ play lawn. We also added a serpentine bench to connect between the dry fountain and mist garden, but it finally became an adapted runway for all kids!