Blue-Green Wonderland: Qingdao Ruyi Lake Competition concept revealed

Blue-Green Wonderland: Qingdao Ruyi Lake Competition concept revealed

A shared future for humanity and the environment lies at the heart of Ruyi Lake’s blue-green spine. Located in the Shanghai Cooperation Demonstration Zone, Ruyi Lake has faced damning ecological hardships of water shortages, poor water quality, soil salinization and biodiversity loss related to causal human interventions. In response, McGregor Coxall’s Shenzhen Studio collaborated with lead designers SPI Landscape Group in the creation of a renewed waterfront environment that extends from Qingdao’s iconic coast to its inland urban estuaries. The competition concept envisions Qingdao as a core seaside development in Northeast China, a benchmark for sustainable city living in the Asia-Pacific region.

Michael Patte, McGregor Coxall’s Regional Director of Design, Asia, said:

“Qingdao’s Ruyi Lake faced severe environmental constraints due to excess alkaline soil, high levels of water pollution, and underground site contamination.“

Our approach responds to such concerns through innovative, research-led solutions. With a focus on education, the design response promotes visible ecological transformation to the urban setting and its waterfront. We want to mark a new era through this development, creating a place that is of Biocity standards capable of evoking positive, radical change to our cities.

“Nature-based solutions have been proposed to Qingdao’s urban centre in pursuit of resilient, prosperous, and progressive lifestyles adapted to the reality of the site and its context.”Under core strategies of ‘showcase, harvest, restore, and symbiosis’, the design response entails a resilient blue-green network that promotes harmonious living between people and ecology. An overflow weir controls three unique water environments by reallocating purified water resources. A multi-target water replenishment system, alongside two major water exchange systems, shortens the water exchange process and connects with seven urban water corridors that traverse the urban centre. Natural tidal wetlands that extend from the river offer a unique aesthetic to Qingdao, providing habitats for riparian ecology while managing human activities in and around the waterfront.

A revitalised blue-green network embeds nature in the central business district. McGregor Coxall led the site’s water management solution, proposing a Class 3 water quality system in pursuit of flood management, source control, and riparian ecology replenishment. A hydrophilic approach estimates a 400% increase in water exchange efficiency, drawing on Ruyi Lake’s seven urban water corridors and wetlands. Restored estuaries and wetland biodiversity will play a big role in climate change driver mitigation, regionally.Linear parklands run adjacent to the water’s edge, a pedestrianised open space network that connects the city on three axes. Connections weave together mixed-use and commercial precincts, residential communities, transport, and public realm offerings in a rich ecological band.

The concept’s drawcard lies in Wenbu Bay, the ‘Worldwide Cultural Pier’ that serves as a cultural window in service of the SCO. ‘Gathering Bay’ will become a waterfront hub for international business, tourism, and cultural vibrance. Tourists and citizens alike will have uninterrupted access to an activated harbourfront. In the East District, Haibo Bay will boast 1.8km of beach where leisure and relaxation are strongly encouraged.

Project Scope:

Public Landscape Planning and Design

Total planning area: Approx. 724 hectares (including 434 hectares of water surface area)

Designed in collaboration with: S.P.I Landscape Group, Carbon Neutral Joint Design Center of Tsinghua University Architectural Design and Research Institute, Professor Wu Xiaoming of Pearl River Water Conservancy Research Institute

Client: SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone Management Committee

Competition Organiser: Qingdao SCO Development Group Co., Ltd.

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