The project is located at Xiake Xu’s hometown, Xuxiake Town, Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, China. Serving as the geometric center of the Economic Circle in the Yangtze River Delta, the transportation here is developed. There is excellent natural environment, where surrounded by water on three sides and used to be the Xiake Tourism Expo Park. However, with the time passed, many problems were exposed. Although the venue is rich in cultural and historical attributes, it is more about boring culture display, much less a serious of problems such as outdated single function, low vitality, or low tourist participation, which has led to its gradually being abandoned.
If we believe Confucius is the originator of study tours, then Mr. Xu should be the fearless explorer of study tours. Establishing ambition when Xiake Xu was youth, adventuring the world while he was adult, and finally dying in hometown. He spent more than thirty years writing a traveling legend that allowed future generations to see the vast mountains and rivers, and is regarded as “The orient tour saint”. Xiake culture is the soul of the venue, quietly blending between the water and soil, depicting a beautiful life vision of exploring nature, getting close to nature, and respecting nature.
Based on the unique resources we have，which means convenient traffic, great natural environment and unique core of Xiake cultural spirit, we have put forward a design propose，establishing a highly dynamic interactive cultural demonstration area. Interpret the charm of Xiake culture under the premise of activating the venue, taking a legend of Xiake Xu with a tour of mountains and rivers.
Thus, we propose the following three design strategies:
NO1-与自然对话 Interacting with nature
Create opportunities for tourists to interact with nature and release their nature through making full use of existing natural resources.
NO2-让文化破壁Reproduce the landscapes of Xiake’ s travel note
Take Xiake Xu’s experience of traveling as a cultural perception line, highlighting the cultural imprint of the venue, bringing people the body immersive. We reproduce seven scenes of Xu’s travel notes, creating more opportunities for visitors to interact with Xiake Culture and appreciate Xu’s adventure spirit.
NO3-寻生活方式Create a new lifestyle
Guide visitors to explore a new full-age lifestyle, by holding different activities in our flexible venues.
平面&空间推演MASTERPLAN & SPACE DEDUCTION
At the beginning of the design, based on the unique genes of the site, we put forward three design considerations:
How to use design techniques to create venue space?
Focus on creating a front line with a sense of quality and atmosphere, giving an impressive first impression.
Weaken the landscape construction around the architecture, highlighting the unique architectural form, as well as providing space for marketing activities.
Create the model courtyard as holiday style, giving a comfortable and natural space atmosphere.
How to connect the newly built area with the reconstruction part open in the future?
Extend the surrounding greenery to the building.
Renovate some of the original roads to connect the site with new areas.
Implant themed IP design elements.
How to use the current height difference?
The overall height difference of the site is high in the north and low in the south. So the design integrates the characteristic landscape route experience of Xu Xiake’ s travel notes according to local vertical changes.
Based on the overall design concept of the venue, we deduced the final plan:
REN YI SHAN GUANG- (which means enjoying glorious and clear viewof mountains)An Interpretation of the begin of Xiake Xu’s Landscape Tour
This is the entrance of the park. We design a curved landscape wall at the entrance, which can also be known as the shape of opened Xu’s travel note, and the shape of the material stone on the wall is extracted from the natural form of Tiantai Mountain, where Xu travelled first. Besides, the waterscape here integrates the element of Dipper, helping to find correct directions,which shows Xu’s brave spirit of exploring nature. Another highlight here is the paving design, and we re-crave original seals, which is copied from old venues, as well as the twinkle light scattered on the ground, forming the inherit memories to guide visitors have more insight of Xu’s story.
SU JIANG JI YUAN (which means tracing source of the river) – Metaphorical Expressions of searching for the Source of the Yangtze River
This is an immersive experience space of the park. Near the entrance, we set up an interactive waterscape, indicating to heart purification before starting Xiake Xu’s story. When visitors walking along the water system, the laser-engraved text device on the wall gradually reveals the text about Xu’s travel experience through the heat of people passing by. These experienced infrastructures let people interact and participant with environment and Xu’s stories. Through the corridor, coming to the source of the water system – an art overflowing water platform. It abstracts and condenses the process and shape of the river over thousands of years into the site, like the unceasing Yangtze River, letting people feel the magic of nature. The visitors can feel the close connection and change of the water system during the walk, and experience the hardship of the process and the joy of the consequence of exploring the Yangtze River gradually.
QI YAN GU DAO (which means an ancient route where exploring strata) – demonstration ofXu’s contribution to Chinese geology
With the joy of exploring the source of the Yangtze River, the visitorsgradually stepped into the chapter of a journey that symbolizes Xu’s explorationof geology and rock formations. This an amazing curved rammed earth landscape wall.The local loess and red clay are combined with contemporary craftsmanship tomake the earthy texture simple and thick, providing the most authentic andoriginal mind feeling and reflecting Xu’s spirit of exploration, no afraid towind, cloud and mist.
景观桥 LANDSCAPE BRIDGE
At the end of the ancient route locates a landscape bridge. There are more than 1,000 bridges mentioned in “Xiake Xu’s Travel Notes”. The bridge railing is a metaphor of Xu’s courage to explore nature through the shape of”paddle”. Through the change of the bridge railing shape, the great scenery of the mountains and rivers that Xiake Xu traveled back then isreproduced.
YING ZHI SEN LIN (which means enjoying the light and shadow of the forest) – Modern ways to express the change of shadows in forest
Move to the space extracted from Xiake Xu’s “Diary of visiting Chu State”, where the evergreen ground cover plants, rhododendron, echoing the surrounding metasequoia forest. Using modern design methods to embellish stainless steel mirror devices, the sketch surface integrates the design elements of flowers to butterflies to show the story in Xiake Xu’s travel notes. This scene provides the experience the strange changes of light and shadow looming when crossing the natural forest.
CAO HAI XING ZHOU (which means touring on the grass sea) – enjoying the greenery atmosphere of grass sea.
Out of the stainless steel mirror installation space, we are greeted by an open lawn space, which is the flexible space for different activities and resting. The seats beside the lawn are inlaid with metal strips which engravedwith the text of famous landscape features in Xiake Xu’s travel notes,reflecting the nostalgia and praise for the Xu’s spirit, inheritance and development from contemporary people.
LIN HAI XUN ZONG (which means disport carefree in the twilight)- Integrate Xiake culture to create multi-functional shared space
The XIAKE Pure Island Pure Life project creates not only independent IPs of Xiake created based on the natural environment and cultural background, but also new lifestyle related to it. The design provides the flexible grassland space for different activities, including but not limited to daily activitiessuch as weekend markets, and limited activities like cultural festivals … We simulate different scene experience of tourist activities here, and are committed to opening a new chapter of modern life.
This project is a new attempt of a contemporary demonstration area, usingthe cultural core to activate the vitality of the site. After construction, the space is no longer an isolated venue for sales and marketing, but a highly dynamic urban space for interactive exploration.
Project Name: Xiake Pure Island Pure Life Demonstration Area
Project Address: No.77, Xiake Road, Xuxiake Town, Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, China
Client: China Jinmao HoldingsGroup Limited
Project Area: 28000㎡
Landscape Area: 25000㎡
Completion Time: 2020.03
Landscape Design: LAURENT
Architecture Design: SHUISHI
Construction Institution: Guangdong DONGLI Envrionment Co., Ltd.
Photography: FANCY IMAGES