Changchun Culture of Water Ecology Park

Honor Award

General Design

Changchun, China
Clients: Changchun Urban and Rural Construction Committee and Changchun Construction Investment Co., Ltd.

"In Changchun in northeast China, a closed 80-year-old water treatment plant has been transformed into a remarkable public park that brings back to life a derelict industrial site. The designers threaded 300,000 square meters of green space through the linear site, including a forest landscape corridor and habitats for native flora and fauna. Many of the original historic structures were carefully and respectfully retained and repurposed. New areas for play, relaxation, and art activate the park for visitors of all ages. The design is at once an exercise in preserving cultural memory and a forward-looking demonstration of cutting-edge sustainability practices, including a sophisticated rainwater system appropriate for a former water purification facility."

- 2019 Awards Jury

Project Credits

  • Lead Designers
    • Deng Gang
    • Zhang Songhao
    • Wang Huiyuan
    • Huang Jianjun
    • Shi Li
    • Li Jianjun
    • Xu Jinwei
    • Du Xiawei
    • Wang Xuesong (Zonbong Landscape)
  • Landscape Artitect
  • Designers
    • Liao Mengyi
    • He Xin
    • Zhang Jinxing
    • Li Huawen
    • Zeng Jiefeng
    • Jiang Tingting
    • Du Ruiwen
    • Gu Jing
    • Li Hongji
    • Fang Zhao (Zonbong Landscape)
    • Huang Baihua (Zonbong Landscape)
    • Sun Zhen
    • Xu Guangyao
    • Jin Ge
    • Jin Guangwei
    • Zhang Shuai
    • Chen Hao
    • Li Bin
    • Yu Gang
    • Li Hui
    • Yin Jin
    • Lu Qiyuan (Urban and Rural Planning and Design Institute of Jilin Province)

Project Statement

Changchun Culture of Water Ecology Park is an urban regeneration project where was a water plant with an 80-year history. It has become a cultural and art community through transformation and functional replacement. In the design, the original ecological environment is preserved to the greatest extent, and the traces of history are respected to the greatest extent, and the contemporary lifestyle is maximized. The design highlights the three characteristics. Firstly, the planning, architecture, landscape and art installations are integrated with the landscape thinking; secondly, the landscape design is systematic, thereby forming a slow system, an original site animal and plant ecosystem and a water ecological self-purification system; thirdly, strict control of design, highlighting functional and humanistic feeling.

Project Narrative


Changchun Nanling Waterwork was built in the Manchukuo period in 1932. The Daxinjing City Plan was implemented to establish and improve the water supply system of the city, and the first waterwork in Changchun was built. The waterwork was constructed on a low, lushly-vegetated hill around Nanling by using three gullies at site. Seven sets of water purification systems were built successively here over 84 years. After sedimentation, filtration, flocculation and disinfection, clean water flows steadily to thousands of households and grows together with the city.

In 2016, the old waterwork was replaced. Changchun Municipal Construction Committee, in conjunction with the Baili Yitong River Project, launched a development program for Nanling Waterwork. As a second-grade cultural protected destination in Changchun, the park, after opening, provides a new live space for the citizens, who coexist in harmony with the historic buildings, original flora and fauna on this 32-hectare site. Aware of the great historical value and cultural significance of the site remains and the original habitat to the entire park and even the city, the designers have retained the original environment as much as possible and maximized the use of the original features of the site. The park was open to the citizens in October 2018.

Purpose: urban symbiosis

The reconstructed park is not only the implantation and replacement of functions and forms, but also the rebirth of Nanling Waterwork, the economic regeneration after the adjustment of industrial structure, and the symbiosis between people and the environment and the city.

Design Method:

1. Reshaping the relationship between man and nature:
The influx of urban activities is bound to have an impact on the natural environment.The ecological connection line in the park has organically connected the original gullies, buildings, forests, open-air pools and urban interfaces, and diversified social venues have been also built to help enrich the park's tour system. The hanging trestle in the jungle fills visitors with a unique sensory experience and provides habitat and migration corridor for native flora and fauna in the park, forming an ecological structure in which people coexist with animals and plants and building a model for the integration of cities and natural environment.

In the park, people use the site's 35-meter drop, original rainwater gully, sedimentation tank and water purification system to construct a rainwater system. The primary materials are recycled, and the cleaned dead trees are returned to the forest and land as nutrients. Abandoned wood and stone are also converted into park paving materials to minimize carbon emissions.

2. Diversity of plants and animals:

Designers have carried out research on the composition, quantity, distribution pattern, habitat, ecological habits and seasonal dynamics of the flora and fauna, cleaned up the invasive tree species in the site and supplemented a large number of native plants, so as to ensure the diversity and stability of the ecosystem and provide a space for native animals to live and breed.

3. Revitalizing the city:

The old abandoned site was converted into a vibrant and artistic urban public space. It is the proof of the importance of design for urban renewal.The designers have incorporated the top of the old sedimentation tank, and built a multi-functional lawn activity space. Together with the buildings and art installations, it forms the core theater of the park, where a diversity of urban activities such as exhibitions and concerts are carried out; the old hard ground in the jungle has been turned into a playground for children. The rest space under ancient trees and the old industrial equipment transformation are implanted into the site, in combination with a lot of fun activities so that people could experience the original water purification process and feel the seamless connection of the past and present.

4. Extending the history and cultural memory:

The park highlights the characteristics and historical memory of the project by protecting and utilizing the site's industrial texture and historical context. Protecting and repairing the water purification system and building group in the site, the design preserves the original space such as large trees, industrial buildings and clean water pools, and turns it into a water purification technology museum, so that the public could learn the water purification process and fully experience the space scene 80 years ago, having a better memory of the site history.

The reservoir, the most unique iconic space in the park, is designed in a open or closed status. The open sedimentation tank restores the old water storage function and integrates hydrophilic trestle, aquatic plants and hydrophilic platforms to create an ecological wetland, while the closed sedimentation tank cuts the top structure, retains the old underlying ventilation corridor and structural system, and incorporates participatory urban functions and art installations. The reconstructed reservoir carries forward the strongest interaction and dialogue between the citizens and the historical space.

Those scrapped machines in the site are also retained and re-given a new artistic image, creating new urban topics and resonances with the citizens and the environment.

5. Improving industrial restructuring:

Cultural and creative offices, businesses, art centers, museums, exhibition halls and other formats are incorporated into the park's buildings to establish an open, functional and ecological creative office industry cluster.The adjustment of the industrial structure has led to the transformation of the stock land and activated the value of the surrounding land.


With its positive and extensive impact on the site and the city, this design has created a sense of urban belonging and pride for the citizens, inspired the vitality of the old industrial areas and regional communities in the city, achieved a harmonious symbiosis between the citizens and the natural environment and historical sites, and brought new ideas to the government's effort to improve citizens' life quality, environmental governance and industrial restructuring in the old city and old industrial areas. Within 6 months of the opening of the park, office rents grow steadily and social group events are always active. The completion of the park brings not only a sight of rare green forests in the city center, but also marks the improvement of urban service facilities. With the update of business format, which will lead to urban renewal, this area will surely become the most influential part in the city.


Product Sources: DRAINAGE

  • Zonbong Landscape Co., Ltd

Product Sources: FENCE/GATES

  • Zonbong Landscape Co., Ltd

Plant List

  • 1. Pinus tabuliformis Carr.
  • 2. Abies fabri (Mast.) Craib
  • 3. Pinus sylvestris L.
  • 4. Picea asperata Mast.
  • 5. Ulmus pumila L.
  • 6. Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb
  • 7. Syringa reticulata (Blume) Hara var.
  • 8. Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco
  • 9. Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb
  • 10. Crataegus pinnatifida var.
  • 11. Populus pseudo-simonii Kitag.
  • 12. Juglans mandshurica Maxim.
  • 13. Tilia tuan Szyszyl.
  • 14. Malus baccata (Linn.) Borkh.
  • 15. Albizia kalkora (Roxb.) Prain
  • 16. Acer ginnala Maxim.
  • 17. Armeniaca sibirica (L.) Lam.
  • 18. Salix matsudana
  • 19. Pyrus spp
  • 20. Acer saccharum Marsh
  • 21. Populus simonii Carr
  • 22. Rhus Typhina Nutt
  • 23. Phellodendron amurense Rupr.
  • 24. Pinus thunbergii Parl.
  • 25. Robinia pseudoacacia
  • 26. Padus racemosa (Lam.) Gilib.
  • 27. Ulmus pumila var. pendula
  • 28. Rhamnus davurica Pall.
  • 29. Catalpa ovata G. Don
  • 30. Amygdalus triloba (Lindl.) Ricker
  • 31. Betula dahurica Pall.
  • 32. Betula platyphylla Suk.
  • 33. Sabina chinensis