The first high-density park in Tianjin, China

Ballistic Architecture Machine (BAM), an unconventional multidisciplinary design firm with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and New York, continues to challenge conventional ideas about urban landscapes, this time with an action-packed design for a sports park in a mega port city in China.


Aerial view Tianjin 4A Sports Park
Photo credit: Wu Qingshan

Tianjin 4A Sports Park won the landscape project of the year title at the 16th Grand Prix du Design Awards in Canada, and received recognition at the Architizer A+ Awards for its innovative approach to embedding learning environments in public spaces through play.

BAM celebrates ancient history with new design

Today, the site is a modern city built over the remains of historical Yixing, a town with a remarkable connection to another Yixing town in Jiangsu province. With the construction of the Grand Canal, the residents of Yixing moved their entire village and reconstructed a facsimile to the north of Tianjin city. While this historical town was destroyed, BAM utilizes the urban plan of the original Yixing as a palimpsest, resurfacing the lost history and giving it back to the community in a contemporary form.

Sport, food, fun, and mazes

The project is roughly divided into 4 plots which overlap each other. These quadrants are defined by a central axis which runs northwest to southeast, connecting with the residential district through the mall to the metro. The other axis is a large central plaza, which is an open space for activities and events. The four quadrants break down into micro-environments, each with its own unique spaces and programs. The programs and spaces of the landscape are highly curated, balancing between the landscape, retail, housing, and metro.

The maze and the journey of learning

The maze has been an integral idea to the design of the park, connecting spatial and thematic aspects of the design together. Spatially, the maze echoes the feel of the ancient town with its meandering streets. Symbolically, the maze represents the journey of learning, reminding visitors that in life, we continually seek our own unique path.

About Ballistic Architecture Machine

Ballistic Architecture Machine, or simply BAM, is a multidisciplinary design studio committed to the design of urban landscapes. BAM has been listed as Global Top 100 at Kyoto Design Awards, received Special Mention as the Best Landscape Studio of the Year at the 2024 Architizer A+ Awards, and operates internationally from offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and New York.