Monash China Study Program@Xixinan, Turenscape Academy
1st to 15th April 2019
Traditional Water Management & Water-sensitive Urbanism
Monash University architecture students had the unique experience of two weeks of immersive learning in China’s countryside villages, Ming-dynasty architectural sites in Anhui and modern ecological parks in Zhejiang. They explored Urban Hydrology with a focus on the practical-social space of water in Xixinan 西溪南, Chengkan 呈坎 and Hongcun 宏村. The “learning-by-doing” experience allowed students to observe, gather data, research and analyze design thinking from time past.
- Hydrology hike led by Prof. Yu Kongjian, Professor of Peking University, founder of Turenscape and Turenscape Academy
- Xixinan, an untouched 1,200 year-old village in Anhui province
- Chengkan, a living museum of Hui architecture of the Ming era
- Hongcun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000
Designer-led tours: Resilient Landscapes
According to Dr. Kongjian Yu, “Sponge Cities” present a new but effective model of urbanism based on an “understanding of ecology and culture tested by 5000 years of Chinese agricultural history.” Designers at Turenscape restore polluted sites with active ecosystems of native plants to create spongy landscapes able to soak up excess water in cases of flooding, filter pollutants and bacteria from the water, and release clean water for use during times of water shortage. Sponge Cities not only provide healthy ecosystem services to their surroundings but also serve as beautiful, resilient urban parks for urban dwellers. As part of the study program, students took part in the designer-led excursion, visiting award-winning Chinese landscapes and eco-friendly urban designs in Zhejiang Province.
1) Yanweizhou Park
The Yanweizhou wetland is a flood adaptive landscape, which stretches more than 64 acres (26 hectares) within the Jinhua area in Zhejiang Province. Located in a monsoon-prone region, an innovative flood-friendly landscape with cut-and-fill strategy to balance earthwork replaced the original concrete riverbanks. The design features a water-resilient terraced river embankment that is covered with flood-adapted native vegetation as well as a 764m long pedestrian bridge that allows visitor access even during floods.
- Yan Weizhou Park, Jinhua City, 2015 World’s Best Landscape of the Year, World Architecture Festival Awards
2) Puyang River Ecological Corridor
Rapid urban development has raised many challenges for Puyang River, including ecological destruction, increased flooding risks, regional cultural loss, and poor accessibility. Turenscape redefined the landscape with an eco-friendly and flood-safe green corridor, beginning at the entrance to the Pujiang Huangzhai highway and leading west towards Tongji Bridge Reservoir’s spillway.
3) Mei Garden
Mei or Plum Blossom Garden uses cut-and-fill strategy to create a constructed wetland that cleans eutrophic water and restores native habitats for biodiversity, adapts the hot and rainy subtropical monsoon climate for everyday outdoor use, and creates a matrix of explorative spaces inspired by the poetic and picturesque nature of traditional gardening and flower appreciation.
4) Jinhua Architecture Park
The fascinating architecture park consists of pavilions designed by 16 international architects. Curated by artist Ai Weiwei, the park is dedicated in memory of his poet father, Ai Qing, a native of Jinhua.
- Jinhua Architecture Park
- Final Presentation & Critique@Riverside Teahouse which used to be an ancient ancestral hall
Monash University architecture students ended their China study program with a presentation by five different groups.
The groups researched and worked on:
- Inlets and Outlets (weir, dam, diversion)
- Access and distribution (rivulet, channel, step well)
- Courtyards and interiors (gutter, vessel, soak)
- Social thresholds and furniture (pump, sink, bowl, bucket)
- Productive lands and irrigation (ditch, well, pond)
Research and drawings made at Turenscape Academy will become part of an exhibition and catalogue to be produced in Melbourne, Australia.
We look forward to their final exhibition!
Special thanks to:
- The wonderful people of Xixinan for opening their village to us
- Prof. Yu Kongjian for the amazing hydrology hike
- Designers Ban Minghui, Zhang Lin, Du Jingwen for the informative designer-led tours
- Marika Neustupny for providing invaluable feedback during the critique
- Nigel Bertram for leading the study program
Founding Director, NMBW Architecture Studio
Practice Professor in Architecture, Monash University
PhD, RMIT University
Founder, Turenscape & Turenscape AcademyNigel has taught at Monash and RMIT Universities for over 20 years, and is currently a Design Review Panel member for the Office of the Victorian Government Architect. He has authored a number of research publications, most recently Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure: Making and Using the Urban Environment. Nigel has a range of experience working with government and university bodies at different scales on NMBW’s urban and institutional projects.
Prof. Yu Kongjian
Doctor of Design, Harvard GSD
Doctor Honoris Causa in Landscape and Environment, the Sapienza University of Rome
Honorary Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects
Changjiang Chair Professor of Design, Peking University
Professor, College of Architecture and Landscape, Peking University
Founder, Turenscape & Turenscape Academy
He is the founder of Turenscape, one of the first and largest private architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism practices in China. His pioneering research on the ‘ecological security patterns’ and ‘sponge cities’ have been adopted by the Chinese government as the guiding theory for national land use planning, eco-city campaign, and urban ecological restoration. He has won numerous international awards for his ecologically and culturally sensitive projects, including twelve ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Excellence and Honor Awards, a ULI (Urban Land Institute) Global Award of Excellence in 2009, and four World Best Landscape Awards at the World Architecture Festival (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015).