Guangming Culture and Arts Center | Shenzhen, China | GVL Design Group

Guangming Culture and Arts Center covers an area of 3.8 hectares. It is located in the core area of GBA, one of the four major bay areas in the world. With rapid urbanization, the project area’s development and population density are comparable to those of Hong Kong. Surrounded by the project are residential and office building projects that are under high-speed construction. While facing severe ecological problems, there is a lack of open space and public amenities for functions such as performing arts, exhibitions and other cultural events.

The design team reimagined the traditional public landscape development model, expanded the scope of landscape design, and utilized Guangming Culture and Arts Center as a new “green block laboratory”. After extensive dialogues and gather the interests of all parties, the design team has concluded that a “green block” in a high-density area should have four basic design strategies: stormwater management, climate regulation, low carbon emission, and social value. This prototype will serve as a basic guideline for future high-density development blocks.

Stormwater management

The design team conducted evaluations and tests based on detailed geographic and hydrologic data, and other site conditions. A total area of 2,200 square feet of green infrastructure is strategically placed on the site. After the stormwater runoff is purified through the green roof infrastructure, it flows into the rain garden through downspouts, together with the stormwater runoff, for purification and infiltration. Part of the treated stormwater is collected in a 185,000-gallon underground storage tank to use for the water features and irrigations, creating a sustainable hydrologic cycle that can accommodate a five-year rainfall event.

Climate regulation

A 30,000-square-foot reflecting pool at the building entrance is introduced to increase the humidity and evaporation for the adjustment of ambient temperature, and at the same time helps to reduce the effects of automobile exhaust from surrounding roads and the dust generated by the surrounding construction. The reflecting pool echoes the building, visually expands the space, and reduces the visual impact of the large building.

Low carbon emission

Approximately 95,700 square feet of customized, high durability, high permeability paver, with solar reflectance index (SRI), was used on the site. All vegetation comes from local nurseries. The mixed planting design of trees, shrubs and lawn can help improve carbon sequestration efficiency by 33%. Low-maintenance shrubs can reduce pruning and maintenance frequency by 50%.

Social value

After the completion of the Guangming Culture and Arts Center, the cultural activity demands of 480,000 citizens in this area have been met. From 2019 to now, even during the pandemic period, this project has hosted more than 200 social activities including bazaars, exhibitions and concerts. These events have attracted diverse people and brought great joy, helping to reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

This successful “green block” practice has a close and far-reaching impact on everyone who comes to the venue. Facts have proved that the project will become a new model for future High-density built-up areas.

Guangming Culture and Arts Center

Location: Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China

Design Firm: GVL Design Group

Chief Designers: Jie Luqiu, Tao Peng

Design Team: Wenjuan Cui, Guangsen Zhou, Jingyi Cao, Weiqun Cai, Xiaofen Guan, Yilun Xie, Lei Xiao, Xianhui Feng, Mingxuan Huang

Client: Shenzhen Guangming Bureau of Public Works

Architect: A+E DESIGN

Images: GVL Design Group, Chill, Jin Fengzhe

About Damian Holmes 3267 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