Zigong’s relationship to its river is ancient. This project proposes a landscape intervention that animates the waterfront along the Fixu River, reconnecting the city of Zigong with its riverside: culturally, historically, socially, physically and ecologically. 

The site along the Fuxi is hilly and currently consists of derelict housing on top of a steep unusable embankment. Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP) was contracted to plan a mixed-use development plus new waterfront directly in front of it. 

However, the Fixu River is polluted making the objective of waterfront design, reconnecting people with the water, problematic. To confront this issue, MSP realised that they could not improve the whole river. They decided instead to demonstrate river water cleansing on a small portion of it, using advanced but simple biological cleansing technologies. Other sustainable urban drainage techniques are employed in the project to mitigate flooding during the monsoon. A curvilinear design motif, based upon water eddies, guides the entire design. It flows from the mixed-use development over to the waterfront promenade and forms a series of accessible terraces and walks that are flood resilient.

The discovery of a vast deposit of fossils from the Middle Jurassic era in 1980 makes Zigong the world’s largest dinosaur fossil depository in the world. MSP translated this amazing fact into abstracted ‘dinosaur ribs’ that border the terraces down to the river and brand the new waterfront with a reference to Zigong’s prehistoric past. 

Landscape architect: Martha Schwartz Partners.