South Visitor Center Park at Fuxian Lake | AECOM

Fuxian Lake is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations because of its mild climate all year round. The lake is also one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the country, with a static water capacity of 20.4 billion cubic meters which is one tenth of the total national freshwater reserve. The proposed South Visitor Center is located where upland-streams enter the reservoir, hence the biggest challenge to the project was to ensure all storm-water is purified before entering Fuxian lake to exceed national standards whilst balancing the needs of both people and nature without disrupting the ecological balance.


Green Infrastructure:
The 0.4 ha reflection pond is the landscape core. The pond receives water from mountain villages on non-storm days after water treatment equipment through sediment basins and purification units. During floods, a bypass channel placed along the street diverts stormwater around the west edge of the site. Outlets of the pond and bypass channels lead the water to wetlands outside the 110m protective zone for the further purification. These wetlands are low intervention ecological buffers and essential green infrastructure to ensure all pollutants are removed before water enters Fuxian Lake.

Circulation and Programs:
The circulation surrounding the reflection pond links the park entry and visitor center building and provides dynamic experiences: walking through cedar forests, playing with water at the plaza, sensing the flower in gardens, watching the reflecting at the steps, or lying on sloping walls for star gazing or sun bathing. A meandering elevated walkway is placed between the pond and wetland zone, affording magnificent views to the lake beyond the wetlands. 

The park is enjoyed by visitors and local villagers alike, accommodating to all users, age groups and accessibility needs. People define the programs to use through their behaviors and engagement with natural and designed landscape elements such as the undulating walls that, level changes to water and water fountains. The design encourages people to find their own favorite spots to view the lake over the reflecting pond or wetland. Meeting your neighbor along an elevated walkway or meeting tourists from afar. 

Fuxian Lake is famous in China for having the most number of sunny days without air pollution. During the day, the pond reflects mountains, elevated walks, trees, people’s activities and the clear blue sky. People also enjoy the reflection of stars at night by sitting on waterside steps or locally crafted furniture.

Galaxy Language:
The design language adapted from the wonders of constellations and the galaxy as Fuxian Lake is one of the best destinations in China to enjoy the starry sky at night. The undulating walls and oval shaped plaza are key destinations on the south side of the reflecting pond.

Vegetation Restoration & Materiality:
In order to restore the vegetation on site, local dominant species were used during transformation, and invasive species removed appropriately. After that, we also replant fruit trees and crops with important ecological and economic value to enrich the vegetation structure. Considering the landscape effect along the lakeside, small trees and ornamental grasses are mainly used to guarantee a complete and unblock the lake view.  

The use of material is focused on four topics: local character, low cost, recyclable and permeable. In the project, we use material with local attractions to make landscape furniture. And traditional folk customs are combined in design language to make the landscape more vivid. We recycle stones and gravels from site, and ultimately transform them into permeable paving aggregates to control cost and keep the site eco-friendly.  

We use ecological water governance as the method to protect Fuxian Lake from pollutions to the greatest extent. We create an outdoor living room for the surrounding residents, as well as visitors, to enjoy nature and celebrate their joys of life. This is an ecological park with variable levels and varied viewing to horizons, and an interactive and versatile outdoor interactive space. It reshapes the harmonious symbiotic relationship between human and nature, also activates community vitality and forms dynamic spatial landscape experiences.

Location:Yuxi, Yunnan, China

Landscape ArchitectAECOM, Beijing


ClientLongfor Group

Photography and Image credits Stone Shen (photo 4) , Xinyu Zhao (photo 6、7) , Dan Jiang (photo 2、3) , Xi Tang (photo 1、8、9、10) , Jun Duan (photo 5)  

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