The meandering Xi'an horticultural expo center in China will show off its reclaimed ecosystem to twelve million people over the next six months. Situated in China's Chan-ba ecological district, which used to be a giant sand pit full of degraded water, the center now features lush vegetation, clean water features, and a slew of interesting structures. Whereas the prolific greenery and recovered ecosystem deserve major green kudos, the buildings score lower on our green chart. The bronze, steel, glass and concrete used to construct the themed pavilion, greenhouse, and the Guangyun entrance cast doubt on the buildings' sustainability but we're hoping to see some outstanding water and energy-saving practices emerge to make up for it.
The Guangyun entrance was conceived as a landbridge with a trellis structure that will gradually become overgrown with greenery. After the bridge, the Chang-Ba flower valley meanders like a network of streams that integrates the buildings, landscape and water. The themed pavilion is built to mimic a Chinese character and extends as three fingers cantilevering on top of the lake with landscape running in between. And the greenhouse shows off a mesmerizing variety of both indigenous and foreign plants.
Although the entire expo center sits on land that was restored with two decades of hard ecological recovery work – no doubt very impressive – we would like to see some material reuse for this kind of development. As it is, new bronze, wood, and steel have been used – as far as we can tell – casting a little doubt on the overall sustainability of the greater Chan-ba ecological district.