Remodeling Paradise——Lake West Region Landscape Planning of Hangzhou West Lake

Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province
Landscape Architects
Atelier DYJG

Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province

Client: Hangzhou Parks and Cultural Relics Bureau

Area: 760hm2

Competition: First Prize 2001

Feasibility Study and Strategic Planning: Beijing Forestry University School of Landscape Architecture, Atelier DYJG

Detailed Planning and Design: Hangzhou Landscape Architecture Design Institute

Planning and Completion: 2001-2003

Awards: 2003 China Top Ten Building Scientific and Technological Achievements Award

Honor Award of 2010 ASLA Professional Awards, category: Analysis and Planning

President's Award of the 8th IFLA Asia Pacific Region Awards for Landscape Architecture, category: Landscape Planning

The West Lake of Hangzhou is a natural lake of great cultural significance in China. For more than a thousand years, by dredging the lake, establishing causeways and islands, building temples, palaces, pavilions and towers, people have created beautiful scenery and plentiful historic sites in the lake area as well as a great deal of widely spreading legends, poetries and other cultural heritages. West Lake has been the ideal model of traditional Chinese landscape. Owing to it, Hangzhou has become “The Best Well-being City” and one of the most famous tourist cities in China, and is known as the “paradise on earth”.

By the end of 20th century, with the speedy urban growth and the increasing number of visitors, many problems had become more and more acute in West Lake region. These problems included the spatial isolation of Lake and Hills, water pollution, water body’s poor self-purification ability, traffic disturbance, imperfect tourism system and insufficient tourism space, neglected cultural heritages, disorderly expansion of villages, and so on. Hangzhou was almost unable to be worthy of the name of "Paradise".

These problems are closely related with Lake West region. And in view of this situation, Hangzhou government proposed an idea of “Westward Expansion of West Lake” at the end of the year 2000. In January 2001, Hangzhou Parks and Cultural Relics Bureau launched a competition to discuss the idea’s feasibility, and Beijing Forestry University and Atelier DYJG won the competition and got the commission for the further research and planning.

In October 2003, this project was completed and West Lake presented a new look. Westward Expansion makes better use of landscape resources of Lake West Region, expands tourism area, improves landscape quality and tourism network, and greatly eases the tourism pressure of some scenic spots in West Lake Scenic Area. With Yanggongdi Causeway and Offering Incense Waterway to LingYin Temple restored, the historical structure of West Lake reappears and provides visitors different sightseeing experiences.

The project also makes some neglected or unknown historic relics reappear. These historic relics, including Yanggongdi Causeway, Old Home of Gai Jiaotian, Old Home of Du Jinsheng, Old Home of Huang Gongwang, Fa Xiang Temple, Wu Lao Feng Peak and so on, present their new looks and enrich the history and culture of West Lake area.

By regenerating some villages, building sewage infrastructure and adjusting the land-use, the pollution of streams and West Lake is greatly reduced. The expansion and diversion project also accelerated water cycle in Yue Lake and Xili Lake, and relieve the eutrophication of West Lake.

The new-built 70-hectare wetland is an ideal home for many creatures. After the diversion and drainage system implemented, the lake water can be totally renewed per month. The good environment offers all kinds of habitats for a variety of animals, fishes and birds.

Westward Expansion is not merely restoring some historic water areas of West Lake, but a complex project dealing with the environmental remediation, ecological restoration, landscape resources’ protection and utilization, and tourism expansion in the Lake West region or even in the whole West Lake Scenic Area. It also improves many other aspects, including society, ecology, hydrology, city, and so on. The project builds a new landscape structure of West Lake Scenic Area, establishes a more perfect service system, a more scientific ecosystem around the whole lake area, and greatly promotes the city's comprehensive development.

Together with the Lake East Line, Lake South Line and Lake North Line planned by Hangzhou Landscape Architecture Design Institute, the project won Golden Prize of 2010 IFLA Asia-Pacific Region Landscape Architecture Prizes and Honor Award of 2010 ASLA Professional Awards. The ASLA jury’s comment is, “We would love to see this project built as it is a great solution to creating a beautiful landscape experience which would be a recreational and cultural haven to the people of the area. And the project sends a positive message to display the potential for landscapes that promote better environmental quality.”

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Other Projects by Atelier DYJG

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Park as Sculpture——Zhengzhou Sculpture Park
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