A Fusion of Contemporary Landscape and Chinese Garden Tradition 
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"3000","speed":"300","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationBeijing, China
ClientSkidmore Owings & Merrill
Size18 urban blocks

Awarded after an international competition, the Beijing Finance Center Master Plan creates an international destination in West Beijing. The project, which includes a mix of uses—housing, retail, hotel office and cultural facilities—is focused in terms of the landscape design on a central park known as “The Heart” of western Beijing. SWA’s work paralleled that of SOM, the building architect, and integrated urban design and landscape architecture into both the physical and cultural structure of the design. The large public park is a space which provides both an open public realm and a functional court yard for the district. A large civic plaza, which features a computer-animated fountain and light show, fronts Finance Street while a series of intimate courts center each urban block.

Combining contemporary landscape design with traditional Chinese garden philosophy, the Beijing Finance Street Park creates a unique international destination for Beijing’s cultural identity. The design concept, Architecture inside Landscape and Landscape inside Architecture, is a contemporary interpretation of the Chinese tradition of “Borrowed Landscape.” The design incorporates Borrowed Landscape in four specific ways:

  1. Scenery Overlapping Scenery: In the park and architecture, paths connect one to another. Straight tree rows and clipped hedges are contemporary interpretation of the Chinese garden art of extending walls and buildings into the garden.
  2. Gardens within Gardens: Small gardens are used within larger gardens, allowing smaller, more intimate spaces for fewer people to gather.
  3. Water Cascading/Water Reflecting: A series of water elements strengthens the relationship of architecture and landscape. A water wall at the amphitheater visually extends the architecture into the landscape while pools at the base of certain buildings poetically merge architecture, landscape, and sky.
  4. Planting and the Changing Seasons: Plants play an important role in the landscape and are used as both spatial and natural elements. Linear planting elements create both large and small spaces while landforms create sculptural spaces and open lawns create outdoor active spaces. Both deciduous and evergreen plants are used to express the change of seasons and rejuvenating qualities of the landscape.

Approximately 30 percent of the project area is located over garage structure and required a special approach in thinking about planting and landscape construction. SWA coordinated closely with the architect to accommodate the planting depths and waterproofing required to accomplish the design intent.

Related Projects

Suzhou Center

The Suzhou Center is a landmark urban space within the Suzhou Central Business District that embodies the spirit of the city of Suzhou as a gateway for intersecting old and new cultural and historic heritage. The successful combination of high-density development and ecological conservation will allow for Suzhou to transition to a garden city where state-of-th...

Zifeng Tower Nanjing

Nanjing Greenland International Commercial Center is an urban high-rise project containing two major sites, A1 and A2. The 450-meter main tower, Zifeng Tower, with its concentric rings of mixed trees and linear water features, is the focus of the A1 site. The landscape design encompasses existing parks as well as the adjacent historic features in o...

Avenida Houston

SWA and the architect’s narrative of nature and industry united underscores the design of the new 140,000-square-foot (3-1/2 acre) Avenida Houston plaza, adjacent to the freshly renovated George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Key to the theme of nature as it plays out in this new events space is the famous central flyway that offers hundreds o...

Heights Mercantile

Heights Mercantile is a mixed-use space centered on a bike trail in the heart of the beloved Houston Heights neighborhood. It transformed vacant office and warehouse sites into a community-anchoring redevelopment featuring 16-first-to-market specialty brands and four chef-driven restaurant concepts. As the development’s backbone, adjacent hike and bike trails ...

RIT Global Village and Global Plaza

Global Village, a pedestrian-only infill neighborhood adjacent to Rochester Institute of Technology’s academic core, and its mixed-use centerpiece, Global Plaza, create a social heart for 17,200 students and 3,600 faculty and staff. The landscape architects and architects collaborated on an urban design that establishes multiple “crossroads” ...

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

This office building’s roof garden celebrates a potent image of the native Texas landscape: the level, grass-covered plains emerging from a wooded riparian area. A design vocabulary of native, drought-tolerant plant materials, especially selected to react to light and air movement, reinforces this design approach. The project serves as a two-acre rooftop garde...

Kaohsiung Waterfront Renovation

SWA, in association with Morphosis Architecture and CHNW, developed a vision for the future of Kaohsiung Harbor Wharfs, which includes 114 hectares of prime waterfront property formerly used for cargo shipping. The site, located in the shipping heart of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was historically subjected to environmental neglect and rampant uncontrolled development....

Santa Monica North Beach Trail Improvements

While the beaches of Santa Monica are arguably one of the most iconic landscapes in Southern California, the trails running through them are less well known. Among those is the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which runs from Mexico to Oregon and is commonly referred to as “The Strand” by locals. In recent years, The Strand bike trail had become congested and dangero...