Transform an urban dumping ground into an island-jeweled lake
In the city of Nanchang, within the Yangtze River flood plain in east-central China, Turenscape transformed a badly abused 126-acre landscape into a dreamlike floating forest that regulates stormwater, provides habitat for wildlife, offers an array of recreational opportunities, and gives local residents a new way to connect with nature.
All of this has lent a unique identity to the New District, serving as a catalyst for urban development in the surrounding area. Fish Tail Park offers a replicable model of designed urban nature for regions with monsoon or variable climates that can address the multiple challenges of floods, habitat restoration, and recreational demands. Inspired by the ancient concept of farming atop marshland, and by simple cut-and-fill techniques such as the Aztec Chinampas, or floating garden system, the coal ash dumped on site was recycled and mixed with dirt from the fish pond dykes to create numerous islets.
A flood-adapted forest at the heart of the Park
Inspired by Poyang Lake’s native monsoon-flood-adapted marsh landscape, the firm selected tree species that are able to survive fluctuating water levels, including Taxodium distichum, Taxodium distichum var. imbricatum and Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Because fluctuating water levels often expose barren muddy shorelines, perennial and annual wetland plants were planted along the shorelines and island edges, and lotus plants provide highly efficient lake cover.
A recreational waterfront where the city and nature meet
The central forest on the water, which is submerged during the annual monsoon floods, provides opportunities to explore nature and a “messy,” immersive marsh experience. Meanwhile, the waterfront at the periphery of the park is designed to accommodate 20-year floods and to provide a zone that can meet the recreational needs of the local population, including natural playgrounds, beaches, fountains, and lawns. There are also terraced constructed wetlands designed to filter urban runoff.
A flood-resilient boardwalk and spots for immersive contact with nature
A bike route and service road follow the park’s periphery. A network of pedestrian paths and platforms surround the lake and provide access to the forested isles, offering visitors a myriad of opportunities to explore. The boardwalk is designed to be submerged during 20-year flood events and annual monsoon floods, which can render the central part of the park inaccessible for several days at a time.
Contemporary design and inviting focal points
dges, platforms, pavilions, and viewing towers are carefully placed to provide attractive focal points. Their contemporary design helps to infuse the ancient city, which dates back well over 2,000 years, with a sense of modernity and progress. Perforated aluminum plate is the main material used for the installed structures, creating an arresting contrast with the natural setting. At the park’s main entrance, a cafeteria is integrated with an overpass across a six-lane road, connecting Fish Tail Park with the neighboring Aixi Lake Park.
1In 1988, Turenscape was founded by Doctor and Professor Kongjian Yu (Doctor of Design, GSD, Harvard University), and the company is certified as a first-level design institute by the Chinese government. With over 500 professionals, Turenscape is a multi- disciplinary design team that provides quality and holistic services in:Architectural design, Landscape design, Urban design, Environmental design, Engineering. Under the leadership of Doctor Kongjian Yu, Turenscape has planned and designed over 300 ecological cities and 1,000 landscape projects in China over the past 20 years. The projects are located in 200 cities, and more than 600 projects have been built and realized. Turenscape's projects have earned considerable international acclaim for their innovative and environmentally sound designs, and the firm has won 13 consecutive American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Awards in the past 10 years, as well as 5 World’s Best Landscape Awards at the World Architecture Festival.