A new age for Wuxi – Lake Tai Park reimagined

A new age for Wuxi – Lake Tai Park reimagined

McGregor Coxall’s concept in association with local design institute Layout has been shortlisted as one of three top projects for the urban renewal of Wuxi’s iconic Lake Tai Park in a transformation reflective of the city’s history and growth. Inspired by the experiences and spiritual cores of the neighboring Lake Tai and Hui Mountain, the concept extends Liangxi District’s thriving ecological and tourism belt through a diverse living space that invites a public exchange of nature, city, and culture. A central ‘Mountain and Lake’ amphitheater, cultural gardens, art forests, civic plaza, and recreational boulevard combine to create a strong city identity that is uniquely Wuxi.

McGregor Coxall’s Regional Director of Design – Asia, Michael Patte, says the concept will accommodate all the necessary elements to allow the city to redefine itself both in its continuity and contemporaneity.

“Lake Tai and Hui Mountain are closely tied to Wuxi’s origins. Over time, this identity has been somewhat lost through gradual degradation of the site’s biodiversity, place vitality, programmability, and connectivity with the wider region,” said Patte. “Contextually, the current plaza presents a fragmented precinct on a singular main axis with Wuxi Museum and an array of commercial buildings placed either end.

“To repair this connection, we sought to re-establish the lake and mountain as the core and foundation of the city, developing a concept that houses four key elements that are central to the Wuxi: Nature, City, Culture, and Sharing. “These themes laid the foundation of four individual spaces that surround the central blue-and-green core. Each element unites to define Wuxi’s unique lifestyle and identity, bringing with it a large range of programs and activity for the public. This approach establishes clarity in identity and function: a new landmark and icon of the city.”

A strong environmental agenda underpins the concept. Site renaturalization adopts a sustainable sponge city approach that preserves existing vegetation and enriches regional biodiversity, creating habitats for wildlife and harnessing and purifying rainwater to maintain a deeply connected blue-green network.

The introduction of immersive cultural activities, creation of feature zones, and conservation of its historical context will breathe new life into the plaza. The plaza will feature a diverse program that caters to everyone and all forms of leisure: an inclusive destination that’s reopened to Wuxi for events and festivals, sports, play, and relaxation. The park and plaza are re-stitched to Wuxi’s city framework through an efficient, diverse pedestrian trail network.

The creation of a new lake and mountain plaza is the center of connection and vitality, a new city landmark that exhibits Wuxi’s natural beauty. The central hub will connect all nodes and establish clarity and connection to all corners of the precinct.

“The circular park is a green outdoor domain that embodies the image of a mountain: elevated to form a terraced amphitheater and a perfect escape for rest and viewing. The lake stage within is a tranquil space that portrays the image of Tai Lake, adopting a mirror pool that invites Wuxi’s blue skies and white clouds to the plaza,” said Patte. Located in the site’s northwest, the Neo Eco Garden presents an ecological haven teeming with endemic flora and fauna. Raised walkways and bridges connect to the grand cala that runs through the site from Lake Tai, complemented by the ‘Belvedere’ that offers scenic views of the park, plaza, and cityscape.

The Art Forest is an extension of the museum, featuring sculptures and installations embedded in vegetation. Accessible from the central lake and Belvedere, the Art Forest will be captivating viewing for local residents, tourists, and businesspeople alike.

The concept uses bridges spanning Qingnian Road to unite the Northern Pink Garden with the rest of the park, transforming existing commercial infrastructure into a community garden with amenity for all ages.

An Active Boulevard and Youth Plaza are home to a rich recreational program, featuring a sunken sports field, marketplace, and cafes that cater to the diversity of its users.

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