Grant Associates wins design competition for 41-hectare Friendship Park

Grant Associates has won an international competition to create a new 41-hectare city park as part of the world's largest eco city in northern China.

Aerial view of the park design. Image: Grant Associates
Aerial view of the park design. Image: Grant Associates

Friendship Park will occupy a central location in Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (TJEC), a bilateral project between China and Singapore aimed at creating a blueprint for the future development of sustainable cities. The design vision is a park that welcomes visitors of all ages, celebrating the friendship between China and Singapore, and embodying the principles of sustainability.

Grant Associates’ masterplan aims to translate these ideas into reality by interlocking contrasting landscapes and characters - like water and land, nature and city - while maintaining a unity in the design with a continuous landform.

Grant Associates Singapore will lead the design of Tianjin Sino-Singapore Friendship Park with a phased masterplan that proposes a conservatory of five glass biomes, housing tropical plant collections and water gardens. Other key design elements include a wetland centre, an urban dock, play areas, event lawn and amphitheatre.

The designs include five biomes. Image: Grant Associates.

Alongside Grant Associates, the design team for the conservatories includes WilkinsonEyre Architects, environmental design consultant Atelier Ten and structural engineer Atelier One. The team will collaborate with local consultants to deliver the project, which will be the most high-profile public park within the 3,000 hectare city. Friendship Park is also intended as an all-season, international tourist destination.

The practice wants Friendship Park to be seen as a beacon for sustainable design principles. This includes the establishment of a ‘Sponge City Strategy’ that uses a series of functional waterbodies to manage water flow, improve water quality, and, where appropriate, reduce water run-off. Measures include waterfront reed beds to filter water, and the use of permeable paving where appropriate.

The Wetland Forest design. Image: Grant Associates.

Stefaan Lambreghts, associate at Grant Associates, said: "Friendship Park is a hugely exhilarating and ambitious project. Our vision is to create a sustainable, playful and life enhancing landscape alongside inspiring architecture. Together this will provide a rich variety of spaces in which people can come together to play and learn, and have fun.

"The park symbolises many things. It represents the close relationship between China and Singapore, as well as the connection between people and nature, land and water, shelter and exposure. Friendship Park will exemplify the vital role of public parks in providing space for people of all ages to enjoy a rich variety of experiences with nature."

Tianjin Eco-City was started in 2008 and the first residents moved into the city in 2012. When completed in around 2020, the eco-city will house up to 350,000 people in a low-carbon, green environment that already ranks as the world’s largest eco-city.

Singapore’s National Parks Board (Nparks), the original client behind Gardens by the Bay, is acting as advisor to Tianjin Eco-City on the Friendship Park scheme. Confirmed local partners for Grant Associates’ design team include Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA).

Friendship Park is one of several landscape projects sustaining the growth of Grant Associates’ Singapore office. Others include Funan Mall and Paya Lebar Quarter in Singapore, and the Vietnamese-German University (VGU) in Vietnam.

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