A new style of socially orientated community design brings an open plaza to the people of Hefei by the team at ASPECT Studios Shanghai. Wantou & Vanke Paradise Art Wonderland is located in the core area of the Xin Zhan District’s southwestern zone, with Shao Quan Lake and the civic green belt nearby. The vibrant and developing district is popular with millennials that have an appreciation for design and a unique pursuit for a high end modern living environment. The landscape design vision was forged on the principle of providing residents with the diverse and dynamic experience of modern urban living within a singular location, offering a reflection of different urban environments such as urban plazas and civic parks, pocket parks, play and sports recreation all spaces are programmed to provide a range of experiences and offer a diverse range of facilities and activities for all ages, all structured to encourage social and community connectivity, as places to come together. The overarching design reflects elements of the local community and culture, with the flower of the city – the Pomegranate - providing a strong source of inspiration to the design of the community social space, guiding the form, color and composition to create an energetic colorful, and bold experience. Combined with a dynamic socially orientated landscape program to meet the needs of the community and its people while encouraging interaction, connection and communication. The initial phase consists of three main programmatic zones, urban pocket park, children’s play and community park, within each area creating different experiences as places where children, adults and the elderly can come together to enjoy the fun of play, the diversity of lifestyle, and the vibrancy and energy of the urban environment. Standing as the centerpiece of the urban pocket park is the Pomegranate Flower, a light sculpture inspired by the stamens of the pomegranate flower, reaching high to create both a landmark and identity within the surrounding urban context. On the surface, rhythmic paving represents the wind and the shape of bespoke planters represent the petals blowing in the breeze with the active seating edges providing calm and comfortable clusters for people to rest, stay and connect. The compacted and layered arrangement of the pomegranate fruits provide reference for the shade shelters, creating an interesting shadow play on the ground whilst providing a backdrop to the entire space; allowing visitors and residents to rest in comfort during the hot summer months. The children’s play space offers a diverse play and learning experience. Mountain-shaped play mounds with layered tonal change imitate the gradual changes and layers of the rock strata, while raising from a blue and green carpet represents the river and forest. Integrated within the spaces are the opportunities for children to come together and build essential social and physical skills: areas of free play and fixed play are all designed to encourage social interaction, sports, activity, challenges and development. Community gatherings and public events all take place in the grand community park. The open public park is complimented by a collection of spaces for people to come together in smaller social groups. Within the spatial compositions there are large open multi-functional lawn, pergolas and feature seating to create a semi-enclosed space while small plazas, with tree clusters, form a multi-functional shaded space for group gathering.
With this project we looked to develop a socially focused people-oriented environment that is bold and inspiring, full of detailed experience and opportunities for the diversity of new urban life to play out on. The team and I had immense fun and enjoyment in developing, studying and creating each experience, space and detail. You can certainly feel this fun and passionate energy transfer to each space within the project as you walk around and enjoy.’Stephen Buckle, Shanghai Studio Director.