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Architects: Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute, Beijing, P.R. China
Associate Architects: Wilder Associates
Client: Gui'an Property Investment, Co., Ltd., Guiyang City, P.R. China
As the first British Building Research Establishment (BRE) Innovation Park built in China, Gui'an Ecological Innovation Park was built by Tsinghua University, BRE and Gui’an’s new district government, which aims at researching and showing the latest in Chinese green low-carbon technology. With an area of 6.9 hectares, the Innovation Park is located in Gui'an’s New District in Guizhou Province.
Within the center of the park is a valley that is surrounded by gullies and terraced fields, on the west is the existing Moon Lake Park in the New District, on the southwest is the planned administration center of Gui'an New District, and on the north is the existing pine forest. The site has higher elevation in the west and is lower in the east.
The Innovation Park is designed according to low impact development principles.
First, respecting the existing topography. There was no large-scale excavation, and on average only 0.2 m3 of earth cut per square meter.
Second, making every effort to preserve the current state of the pine forest on the north to serve as the background of the park.
Third, selecting locally available stones and woods as construction materials, which can be recyclable and have low transportation cost.
Fourth, selecting highly adaptive local plant varieties for planting design, including: neosinocalamus affinis, fragrans, day lily, reed, iris, zephyranthes candida, which creates a permacultural landscape, and also reduces the cost and maintenance.
The Innovation Park emphasizes planning and designing a storm water management system, according to the terrain in the principle of "natural accumulation, penetration and purification," without the conventional mode of centralized collection through storm sewers, in order to create a demonstration area for a resilient city by integrating retention and storage of storm water.
The conservation of water resources and comprehensive utilization is implemented through a combination of strategies such as “retention, storage, permeation, purification, utilization and drainage.”
Integrating this concept with the systematic analyses of the natural confluence, water catchment areas of the site have been divided.
Retention and detention facilities for storm water collection are designed to allow the onsite rainwater to penetrate or drain to the lower green spaces and wetlands, thus realizing the direct and indirect utilization of rainwater.
Terraced fields are the most common artificial landscape in mountainous Guizhou. It's very suitable for the Innovation Park to be designed as terraced landscape due to its existing terrain characteristics: high on both sides and low in the center.
Gabions serve as retaining walls to create terraced landscapes, which not only keep the site's original terraced texture, but also help infiltration and penetration. Inside the gabions geotextiles have been applied to allow rainwater infiltration and effectively avoid soil loss.
The slopes of the terraces are also designed to reduce the velocity of the runoff. In existing concave areas, large low-lying green spaces and seasonal wetlands, in which aquatic plants are planted, have been allocated.
Typically, storm water converges into the seasonal wetlands, providing suitable habitats for flora and fauna in the park. During rainstorms, the wetlands are able to store a large amount of rainwater to moderate the peak flow and slow down rainwater infiltration speed. Permeable pavement is used for roadways, public squares and parking lots in the park.
Under a compacted gravel surface layer, a honeycomb composite system serves as the structural layer. Both layers are conducive to natural penetration of rainwater. Plants that survive in both wet and arid conditions were planted in the park, whose stems, leaves and roots are able to absorb and purify storm water, which naturally recharges the groundwater.
The buildings in the park were outfitted with rain barrels and modulized rain gardens on their south sides to gather roof runoff to purify and use as a supplemental water source for the park’s water features. 95% of the paving in the Innovation Park are permeable, and half of the green spaces are concave green spaces used for water retention.
Through monitoring and calculation, more than 85% of the annual runoff volume is under control. The storm water storage capacity is greater than 600 m3, which is designed to eliminate storm water runoff off site for 50-year floods. Waste and sewage generated in the park are transferred to the sewage treatment center through vacuum pipelines for disposal to guarantee 100% sewage and storm water separation.
Waste can be processed into organic fertilizers to improve the park's soil fertility, while sewage is processed for irrigation and maintenance purposes. All the measures mentioned above eliminate the potential for contamination transfer outside of the park.
The Innovation Park was completed and put into service in 2015. Landscapes in the park were designed and constructed in accordance with BREEAM standard, which means that local materials and indigenous plants were selected to shape a distinct landscape reflecting regional characteristics, while at the same time the park was designed to operate under an ecological low cost and maintenance mode to promote and demonstrate a positive example. Lastly, the Innovation Park was awarded the BREEAM three- star certification.