The port of Zhanjiang (Kwangchouwan) has been an important city since the 1800s and one of the origins of the historic “Maritime Silk Road”. The site is located at the southern end of People’s Avenue – the main arterial road in the city- and borders the old urban core and the industrial harbor area. The site faces south with extensive ocean views and southern solar access, perfect for afternoon promenading. Zhanjiang Wharf Park is the centerpiece of the revitalization, transforming the sea-port into a vibrant mixed-use district. This project is exemplary of new, maritime urban renewal happening in seaside Chinese cities.
A major requirement was to integrate the site’s natural seaside character and historical industrial elements. The design incorporates the harbor’s edge, port machinery, railway tracks and shipping containers in playful new encounters while embracing the seaside character of the site. The design also celebrates historical events, memories and forms of Zhanjiang Port. The team’s artistic response was to design several sculptures serving both as interpretive art and site furniture. Weathered steel, perforated steel panels and recycled timber were chosen to echo the materials used in the harbor, giving the site a robust and durable feeling.
Parts of the site were contaminated from heavy industry use. The Grass Field walk was developed as part of the overall masterplan and established as an interim intervention until the next phase of work begins. The Grass Field is a strategy to re-mediate the soil whilst still providing amenity and unique experience along the harbor. Fountain grass was chosen for multiple reasons, firstly its effectiveness in phytoremediation, secondly it was chosen for their tolerance to the coastal environment and interaction with wind and thirdly the plant’s aesthetic appeal and ability to create memorable landscape experience. The Field has since become a popular attraction to tourists, particularly at sunset and throughout the weekend where people are seen photographing friends and family while walking through the tall grass.
The Zhanjiang Wharf Park adds much needed open space for the surrounding community. Enjoying a backdrop of the new harbor city and shipping port, the project creates a grand gesture, linking communities, history and ecology.