ASPECT Studios creates a landscape of many facets, scales and experiences

One City development by Gemdale is a Sino-French mixed-use collaboration in Wuhan, China the capital of the central Chinese province of Hubei. The public realm of the One City development project was designed by Stephen Buckle and the team at ASPECT Studios Shanghai.

Comprising a cultural and art centre, commercial precinct and eco-shopping gardens, the design of this new mixed-use project is deeply rooted in local culture and people-oriented sustainability. A cultural, social and commercial centre as a place for family, recreation and work.

The brief called for a landmark destination that reflects contemporary Wuhan culture. Our design response abstracts the mythological Chinese Phoenix (originating in Hubei Chu) into a narrative for the flowing landscape whose fluid lines guide people through the social gathering and event spaces.

A solar ‘tree’ defines the main gathering space of the central plaza casting an extensive canopy across the main entertainment space sheltering people from sun and rain. To its east, the Phoenix reflection pool and dancing fountains flanked by locally selected tree species is a multifunctional play space for children, reflection pool and summer entertainment space surrounded on all sides with shaded seating for parents and onlookers. South of the water plaza, a series of signature sweeping walls sculptured from local stone, create a visual interplay between each other, structured to deliberately bring people physically closer together to encourage social interaction in the dappled shade.


Throughout the public realm, the design captures moments of a bird in flight, a flutter of wings and feathers, colours infused into the elements. A sweeping language of the Phoenix unifies public space, while the dramatic local natural rock forest formations of Wuhan have inspired the form and character of the bespoke precast active edges that frame the perimeter development.

Specialist lighting design integrates the precinct’s architecture and landscape, transforming the space into a place of interaction and commerce to an entertainment precinct for all ages.

“Grand and inspiring, humanistic and engaging. It’s a landscape of many facets, scales and experiences, each contributing to a dynamic new public domain. The careful selection of native trees and shrubs will bring a seasonal dimension to the design, as the spaces take on different characters through the year,” says, Stephen Buckle, Studio Director ASPECT Studios Shanghai.

One City development, Gemdale Wuhan

Location | Wuhan, P.R. China
Client | Wuhan Jinxiang Property Co., Ltd.
Landscape design | ASPECT Studios
Landscape Design director | Stephen Buckle
Landscape Design team | Cameron Archie, FangYu Lee, Penny Ren and Sam Xu
Architecture design | LACIME SH
Photography | Arch-Exist
Year | 2018
Total landscape area | 35,900 square meters

About Damian Holmes 3292 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at