Sasaki Associates has recently completed the first phase for its landscape design of Tianfu Vanke City, a new 173-hectare community near the Western Chinese city of Chengdu. Located on land that had long been used for agriculture, the development takes a holistic approach to landscape and ecology restoration and will not only preserve and reintroduce native species but will also emphasize aquatic health. Nature has also been made a major focus of the built environment so that residents and visitors can enjoy the landscape through a wide range of outdoor activities.

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aerial view of waterfront landscape

Unlike the relatively flat terrain of Chengdu, Tianfu Vanke City is surrounded by mountains and is rich in aquatic features. Sasaki Associates’ vision for the new urban community celebrates the local landscape by drawing design inspiration from the local environment, culture and materials. To that end, the team used GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping to analyze the site’s topographical features, which informed their plans for roadways, trail systems, water systems, landscape zones and outdoor activities.

Related: Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdu’s Jincheng Lake

aerial image of waterfront pavilion and beach
aerial image of small beach

Site analyses also directed the division of the site into two interconnected neighborhoods — the North Valley and the South Valley — based on the ridgeline and the two sub-watersheds that feed into two scenic lakes at the mouths of the two valleys. To highlight successful landscape reclamation efforts and surrounding nature, the community will be integrated with a comprehensive trail system that will cater to mountain biking, hiking and camping. The project even includes an animal adventure park. Walls of locally sourced red sandstone will snake through the landscape to accentuate the rolling terrain.

kids playing on metal slides
glowing white pavilion near water

The first 13.5-hectare phase of the Tianfu Vanke City landscape was completed in October 2019 and features a three-zoned playscape, which encourages children to experience nature. The most eye-catching zone is the Hill Adventure Park with The Cloud, a 25-meter-by-13-meter netted play structure. The playscape also includes the Water Adventure Park with a sculptural wading “Ripple” pool and the Field Adventure Park with a “Maze” of boardwalks, meadows and pea stone paths.

+ Sasaki Associates

Photography by Holi Photography via Sasaki Associates