SWA win riverfront project in Kunshan, China



SWA Group has won a master plan assignment creating an entirely new Riverfront District to accommodate growth, in sync with environmental and sustainability objectives, on the Wusong River in the city of Kunshan, China outside Shanghai.

The 10.2 million square-foot (955,000 square meter) project-area includes master planning for mixed-use implementations along the key oxbow portion of the waterfront as well as a phase-one business district and a signature main structure, the 107,640 square-foot (10,000 square meter) Huaqiao Forum building.

Of note, the master plan also provides a supporting framework for a regional planning for the Wusong River green network and the broader goals for integrating growth with environmental concerns including:

— Providing synergy between development and water treatment so that it creates people-oriented amenities as well as environmental habitat

— Maximizing the water edge for use and enjoyment by the community, and integrating numerous layers of experience

— Maintaining building massings that are appropriate to the pedestrian scale, preserve open space and enable the flexibility of phasing the construction schedule.

The project-sponsor, Kunshan Huaqiao Economical Development and Planning Bureau, wanted to create a new waterfront district that supports the area’s bustling economy while creating public amenities and open space. In analyzing the Wusong River’s natural systems, SWA Group identified the resources and opportunities to support the development objectives while also meeting sustainability goals, according to Hui-Li Lee of SWA. For example, the SWA plan calls for an extensive water purification system within the project’s infrastructure that provides for better water quality while creating recreational aspects.

The Kunshan new community is anticipated to begin first-phase construction in 2010, with a 10 year overall build-out. Other project consultants include Ojanen Chiou Architect LLP and Herrera Environmental Consultants.

SOURCE: Businesswire


DSDHA win Pennine Lancashire Squared competition

Proposed site plan highlighting a series of new spaces along a revitalised route

Proposed site plan highlighting a series of new spaces along a revitalised route


DSDHA has won the Clithroe square area of the competition seeking ideas for the high profile public spaces in six Pennine Lancashire towns.

An architecture team inspired by Clitheroe’s pretty streets and unique character has triumphed in the Pennine Lancashire Squared competition.

DSDHA’s winning entry for Clitheroe suggests creating not just a square but a network of public spaces, celebrating the town’s unique qualities and reconnecting the market with the historic town centre and surrounding areas. The team’s ideas include making improvements to the market square, and revitalising existing routes through the town to enhance links between arrival ‘gateways’, destinations, pocket parks and meeting places.

DSDHA Director David Hills said: “Working within such a stunning landscape is something about which we are deeply passionate. We hope that our design approach shows respect for Clitheroe’s past whilst simultaneously creating new opportunities for its cultural and commercial renewal. We are extremely excited by this unique opportunity to make this a reality, working in close collaboration with Elevate and the wider Client team.”

The other four practices which made the shortlist for Clitheroe were Mitchell + Associates (landscape architects, urban designers and architects), ARUP and KMCS; Planit-ie; Graeme Massie Architects, rankinfraser landscape architecture and Donald Urquhart, Artist; and Birds Portchmouth Russum.

Winning design teams for four other Pennine Lancashire towns – Accrington(winner: Landscape Projects), Burnley(winner: Civic Architects & Colour: Urban Design), Blackburn(winner: Studio Weave and MESH Partnership) and Nelson (winner: Robinson Landscape Design, Reid Jubb Brown & Kapok) and the final winner – for Bacup – will be announced later this month.

SOURCE: Elevate East Lancashire

Infrastructure blamed for Turkish floods

Istanbul Floods SOURCE: CCTV

Istanbul Floods SOURCE: CCTV

The deadly floods in Turkey have been blamed on poor infrastructure and illegal development throughout the city like Istandul. Experts stated that areas that had infrastructure 10 years ago to cope with 10,000 people now have populations of 100,000 people with the same outdated infrastructure. The urban development of Istanbul has created large areas of impermeable surfaces that increase the amount and speed of water runoff.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

In the News – September 9

Urban design guidelines find favour with developers [The Standard – St Catherine]
Instead of seeing the guidelines — meant to improve the quality of infill development in a landlocked city — as obstacles, developers should see them as being beneficial……

Halifax Regional Municipality seeking public art advisor [The Chronicle Herald]

Halifax Regional Municipality in Canada is seeking a consultant to advise city officials on the development and management of an outdoor public art collection.

Stormwater management not needed behind library[Gazette.net]

The county’s Department of Environmental Protection says it will not conduct stormwater management work behind the Aspen Hill Library after learning more about expansion plans for the facility.

Free visits to city’s beautiful buildings in Bath, UK [thisisbatk.co.uk]

During the next few days several beautiful buildings in and around Bath which cannot normally be seen by members of the public will be opening their doors for free. Some attractions which normally charge for entry will also be available free of charge.

Hoar Construction of Birmingham wins work on 2 major projects in Southeast [The Birmingham News]
The Birmingham construction firm will build a $36 million, Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA Hospital in Biloxi. Hoar and the Christman Co. of Michigan will handle the $32 million renovation of the Robert Vance Federal Building and Courthouse downtown.

Waynesboro to host Urban Tree Workshop

The News Leader reports

On Thursday, hundreds of arborists and other agricultural workers will flock to Waynesboro’s Ridgeview Park for a workshop about growing and maintaining healthy trees in a crowded urban environment.

The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Urban Forest Council sponsor various workshops around the state, but this is the 14th year Waynesboro will host the Plant Health Care for Urban Trees program.

SOURCE: The News Leader

Download the Registration PDF from Virginia Urban Forest Council

Buchanan Courtyard under renovations

The University of British Columbia(UBC) is developing the final plans for Buchanan Courtyard which is to be implemented through the Public Realm Plan ($26 million initiative to rejuvenate open spaces over 15 years). $1.5 million is earmarked for the project with a further $1 million hoped to be raised for the project.

The project is expected to take 2 years with the west courtyard finished in June 2010 and east courtyard in 2011. The project was inspired by landscape architecture and architecture students at UBC and plans were developed during a consultation process with staff, students in a series of workshops with Co-Design group and landscape architects space2place.

The final stages of the project have been contracted to Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PFS).

Information SOURCE: The Ubyssey

Let native plants take their natural place instead of suburban lawn

Valerie Blaine at the Daily Herald has written a great article about letting lawns become natural pockets of grasslands across the suburbs. This can be an issue in gated communities and upmarket suburbs where the lawn and sometimes planting are regulated by species, heights and period of maintenance. The article is a great column about how we become slaves to the perfect American green lawn. read more of Blaine’s article at the Daily Herald

From my personal view, I think that green lawns ares not only an issue in America as talked about by Blaine but across the world were green lawns are seen as a must have for the perfect garden and park. The high costs of maintaining a green lawn are not only in monetary terms but also environmentally and ecologically. Planting a lawn that is a mono-culture or a few species creates an ecological wasteland. Grasslands are some of the most biodiverse landscapes that are often wiped out by residential developments to be replaced by green lawn, rows of hedging and roses. Even moreso in parks where residents demand pristine park lawns and playing ovals.

To change attitudes will take a long time unless environmental factors accelerate social change such as extended droughts which have occurred across the world including USA, Spain, Australia, India, parts of Africa. Brown lawns are now the norm in these countries as water is a scarce commodity for drinking not watering gardens. ‘Natural’ lawns or vegetable gardens can easily take the place of green lawns to provide a sustainable landscape.

Damian Holmes – 8 September 2009

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