2010 Awards

Research, Planning, Analysis and Communication

Honor Award

Wusong Riverfront
Kunshan, China
SWA Group, Hui-Li Lee
Client: Huaqiao Economical  Development Zone Programme Building Bureau

A bird’s-eye view of the inner bay, Huaqiao Forum, hotel, piers, and VIP villas.
A bird’s-eye view of the wetland treatment park.
The project provides a variety of waterfront experiences, from urban to natural settings.
Layered from inside out, the development reflects different intensity and interaction with water.
This area links human amenity and biodiversity.
This area improves water quality while also considering aesthetic experience and public education for users.
A vertically exaggerated section was used so gravity would ensure water flow through treatment sequence.
The project was strategically designed to target pollutant parameters, take full advantage of existing excavation pits, and meet financial/construction feasibility.
The site receives untreated runoff from adjacent parcels and is designed to accommodate the extra quantity and ensure water quality.
The project aims to balance cut and fill and accurately shape the form and volume to optimize treatment efficiency.
The plan works with the existing hydrology system, and the grading and treatment system was designed to maximize the effectiveness of the purification process.
The bottom-up planning process, from water quality and habitat to program and circulation.
Based on the introduced water infrastructure and characteristics, program and landscape connections reinforce the site’s structure.
By integrating a water treatment system into the development infrastructure, the project benefits from both waterfront property value increase and environmental improvement.
The site posed multiple challenges, including an abandoned fish farm, agriculture, brick factory excavation pits, and former manufacturing.
The site is located at the key oxbow portion of Wusong River, with extensive resources for water recreation and wildlife habitat, which is threatened by development expanding from metropolitan Shanghai.

Kunshan City is known historically as the birthplace of traditional opera, and for its unique canal townships in the Yangtze River Delta. In the past few decades, due to its proximity to Shanghai, the city has experienced unprecedented population and business growth, which has resulted in environmental degradation and the need for the city to remake its identity.

This project achieves synergy between development and environmental conservation, balancing these two values in a rapidly changing setting. To achieve this goal, the design team proposed an integrated approach of hydrological design and land planning, where a water treatment system becomes the central organizing structure of the site, upon which development is placed. The vision is to set up an exemplary model for responsible development, provide habitat for flora and fauna, and reconnect and nurture the relationship between people and water.