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Martha Schwartz
Martha Schwartz Partners

Zigong Donqxingsi Precinct

The Chinese city of Zigong on the Fuxi River exemplifies a disjointed effort by a smaller metropolis, grappling with the desire to modernize its relationship to the river as part of a larger economic goal. Here, at Zigong, the whole idea that design can make a place uniquely representative of the local history was prevalent and took inspiration from its relationship with the river.

Following the natural slope to the river, a system of infiltration basins, nicknamed “sponge parks,” combines with rain gardens along the streets in order to detain, cleanse, and mitigate rainfall before sending overflow into the city sewer system.

However, the boldest element in the design is in reference to the twentieth-century Jurassic discovery. Large-scaled abstractions that clearly suggest dinosaur skeletons are proposed to line the ramps and walkways that lead down to the river. The playful steel ribs provide shaded niches for seating while the defined pocket parks and form overlooks the Fuxi itself.

We suggested an array of techniques—from rain gardens, to sponge parks—that composed a sustainable urban drainage system.

About The Designer

Martha Schwartz Partners is a leading international practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating urban sites and city centres. Situated at the intersection of landscape, art, and urbanism, Martha Schwartz Partners has over 30 years of experience designing and implementing installations, gardens, civic plazas, parks, institutional landscapes, corporate headquarters, master plans, and urban regeneration projects. MSP is also working with cities at a strategic level as they take a view to sustainability at a city or regional scale. MSP’s work demonstrates a deep commitment to the urban landscape and public realm as the platform for sustainable cities that are healthy across all aspects, sectors, and domains of urban life.