Synopsis: Paojiang Lake District in North Shaoxing on the Yangtze River Delta becomes a residential/mixed-use center integrating a necklace of parks themed on China’s Five Elements: Gold, Fire, Wood, Earth, Water. Each park’s landscape and public offerings correspond to one element, signified with a prominent landmark, e.g., a hydraulic tower servicing fountains for the “water” park. This unique example of Chinese planning emphasizes the design of a rich array of amenity spaces to attract and anchor housing developments, as opposed to building the amenities after the housing developments are completed.
Detailed Description: Located in the Yangtze River Delta south of Shanghai, Shaoxing is famous for its canals, bridges, wine, and calligraphy, and as the birthplace of prominent historical figures Cai Yuan Pei, Lu Xun, and Zhou En Lai. The master plan’s design area is approximately 4 km2. The built program includes 360,000 m2 but not the design of any housing units shown.
Paojiang Lake District in North Shaoxing will become a new center for residential/multi-use developments connected by public transit and high-speed train. The government wants to create an amenity-rich environment around an existing lake to attract developers and residents to the district.
This master plan layers the site’s existing landscape with many amenities and uses based on the Five Elements prominent in Chinese culture: Gold, Fire, Wood, Earth, and Water. The design integrates a series of smaller parks strung along the lake like a jeweled necklace. Each park is thematically based on one of the Five Elements, and each park’s programs, uses, amenities, materials, and forms will be associated with its corresponding element.
A prominent thematic landmark represents each zone. Each landmark is visible from one or more landmarks, encouraging residents to visit neighboring parks and monuments. For instance, the “water” element is marked by a tower with hydraulic water systems servicing fountains. Visitors can walk up the tower and experience the mechanics of hydrology while viewing other landmarks in the distance. Also, pools, beaches, spas, and additional water-related uses inhabit this parklet.