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Turenscape, one of four finalists to compete in the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition.

Turenscape, one of four finalists to compete in the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition.

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  • 1. TURENSCAPE BEIJING, CHINA TIANJIN QIAOYUAN PARK The Adaptation Palettes Through regenerative design and by changing the landform, the natural processes of plant adaptation and community evolution are introduced to transform a former deserted shooting range used as a garbage dump, into a low maintenance urban park. The park provides diverse natural services for the city, including containing and purifying stormwater, improving the saline-alkali soil, providing opportunities for environmental education, and creating a cherished aesthetic experience. TURENSCAPE BEIJING, CHINA
  • 2. TURENSCAPE BEIJING, CHINA This is a park of 54 acres in the northern coastal city of Tianjin, China. Rapid urbanization had changed a peripheral shooting range into a garbage dump and drainage sink for urban stormwater; the site was heavily polluted, littered, deserted, and surrounded with slums and temporary rickety structures that had been torn down before the design was commissioned. Densely populated at the south and east boundaries, the site is bounded on the west and north sides by a highway and an overpass. Challenges In early 2006, in response to residents’ call for environmental improvement of the site, the municipal government of Tianjin engaged Turenscape with the difficult task of an immediate transformation of this degraded site.The overall design goal for this project was to create a park that could provide a diversity of natural services for the city and the surrounding urban residents, including containing and purifying urban storm water, improving the saline-alkali soil through natural processes, and recovering the regional landscape with low maintenance native vegetation. The park also provides opportunities for environmental education about native landscapes and natural systems, storm water management, soil improvement, and landscape sustainability. Design Strategy The regional landscape is flat and was once rich in wetlands and salt marshes, which had been mostly destroyed by decades of urban development and infrastructure construction. Inspired by the adaptive vegetation communities that dotted the landscape in this region, the solution for this park was called the “Adaptation Palettes.” A simple landscape regenerative design strategy was devised, one that included digging 21 pond cavities varying from 33 to 132 feet in diameter, and from 3 to 16 feet in depth. The garbage was handled in the earthwork. Some cavities are below ground level and some above on mounds. TIANJIN QIAOYUAN PARK Tianjin, China
  • 3. TURENSCAPE BEIJING, CHINA During the rainy season, due to the shallow groundwater, some cavities turn into water ponds, some into wetlands, some into seasonal pools, and some stay as dry cavities. Through the seasons’ rain wash and filtration, the saline-alkali content of the soil in the dry cavities improves, while nutrients deposit in the deeper ponds that catch stormwater runoff. Diverse habitats were created and the natural process of plant adaptation and community evolution were initiated. Seeds of mixed plant species were sowed initially to start the vegetation, and other native species were allowed to grow wherever suitable. Through the seasons’ evolution, patches of unique vegetation establish in correspondence to the individual wet or dry cavities, and various pH values. Within some of the cavities are wood platforms that allow visitors to sit right in the middle of the vegetation patches. A network of red-colored asphalt was designed to weave through the palettes. Along the paths is an environmental interpretation system that gives descriptions of natural patterns, processes, and native species. TIANJIN QIAOYUAN PARK Tianjin, China
  • 4. TURENSCAPE BEIJING, CHINA Conclusion The park achieved its goals in just two years. Stormwater is retained in the water cavities, allowing diverse water-sensitive communities to evolve. Seasonal changes in plant species occur and integrate with the beauty of the “messy” native landscape, attracting thousands of visitors every day. In the first two months of its opening, from October to November of 2008, about 200,000 people visited the park. It is a successful park which changes throughout the year and is constantly visited by the community. This project helps to define the new aesthetics of landscape today, defined by a continuous evolving process. Untidy forms, unplanned biodiversity, and nature’s “messiness” expose a genuine beauty that enriches the landscape. The ecology-driven adaptation palettes have become a valuable and remarkable site for the community of Tianjin. TIANJIN QIAOYUAN PARK Tianjin, China TURENSCAPE BEIJING, CHINA