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Lab D+H: Nantou Ancient City is located in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. A significant carrier of Cantonese culture for over 1,700 years, Nantou was also a critical political location in the early days of the People’s Republic of China. It has witnessed the renewal and development of the central area of Shenzhen as a core part of the city.
▽南头花园视频 Nantou Garden Video © 李聪毅
项目概述 Project Overview
However, as Shenzhen’s urban scale continued to rapidly expand throughout the 90’s, the rising demand for housing caused Nantou Ancient City to grow disorderly. The living environment of the once-thriving urban village became disorganized and cramped. An urban renewal project for the area was initiated in 2019. While much of that project focused on the commercial potential of the main streets, the daily needs of local people were not ignored. Based on the challenges unique to urban villages that Nantou faces, the landscape design team aimed to respect the local culture by preserving the original street layout. The team adhered to the concept of placemaking by utilizing indigenous materials, such as granite and tiles, the transformation of the dilapidated and gloomy space into an all-new dynamic community park.
▽南头古城 In southern China’s ancient city
▽大家乐广场 Grand Lok Plaza
▽夜幕下的大家乐广场 The Grand Lok Plaza at night
▽夜幕下的叠园 Folded garden under night
▽ 叠园 Fold the garden
By creating a fusion of old and new cultures, Nantou Ancient City is now an area full of energy that provides ample space for public activities such as gathering, resting and communicating. This new “urban living room” also allows for different groups such as migrants, artists, and tourists to organically interact and communicate.
▽叠园鸟瞰 Fold the garden have a bird’s eye view of
▽与日常生活和谐相融 Be in harmony with everyday life
▽孩子们在叠园木棉花树下描绘生活 Children are painting life under the kaposi tree in the garden
▽通过营造新旧文化相互碰撞融合的氛围，焕发古城的生机与活力 By creating an atmosphere where old and new cultures collide，revitalize the ancient city
场地现状与难点 Site Background and Challenges
Before its transformation, Nantou Ancient City’s unkempt greenery and sprawling buildings split its original narrow, winding streets. This created a series of small spaces all separated from each other. In addition to the complex spatial structure, infrastructure was outdated and cultural relics were not effectively preserved. Residents faced a serious lack of suitable space and facilities that met the needs of their daily lives.
▽南头历史文化背景分析 Nantou historical and cultural background analysis
▽南头改造前后对比分析 Comparative analysis before and after nantou reconstruction
设计理念 Design Concept
面对复杂的城中村空间体系与居民的实际需求，设计团队研究了古城内原有的空间和人口结构，以点（5个花园）、线（数条巷道）的方式有机串联不同区域，将剩余空间改造成社区公共活动花园，编织成多元包容的公共领域网络。设计采用三个“RE”策略：第一，拆除违建与问题建筑，打开阴暗巷弄（Reopen the leftover space）；第二，强调当地材料再利用（Relocate Materials）；第三，以植入新功能的景观节点串联社区（Reconnect the community）。
Faced with a number of spatial idiosyncrasies and varying needs of locals, the design team conducted an extensive study on Nantou’s original space and population structure. They established an organic point (five gardens) and line (multiple alleyways) system on this basis to connect different regions of the urban village. Surplus space was transformed into community park space and woven into a diverse and inclusive spatial network. The design applied three “RE’s” in its strategy: RE-open leftover space by tearing down illegally constructed buildings and opening up the dark alleyways; RE-use materials by emphasizing local sourcing; and RE-connect the community through landscape nodes with new functionality.
▽南头花园平面图 Plan of South head Garden
▽南头花园轴侧效果图 South head garden axis side renderings
The Nantou Community Park project created a vibrant public space through rearranging the spatial structure, using local materials, and retaining the site’s original greenery. It preserves the historical memory of the space by integrating the unique alleyways with nodes (Whetstone Garden, Folding Garden, Guanyin Fountain, Grand Joy Plaza, and the Photosynthesis Club) that were previously scattered randomly around Nantou’s main intersection. These features integrate the space organically into the surrounding community.
▽改造后的砥园 A strode garden after renovation
▽改造后的叠园 The folded garden after transformation
▽改造后的观音井 The reconstructed Guanyin Well
细节设计 Design Details
01 叠园 Folding Garden
The transformation of Folding Garden started from the concrete structure in the center of the site. The selection of materials and arrangement of plants both were completed with the harmony of the structure in mind. Along with trees and shrubs, time and memories are solidified and grow in its concrete walls. Steps and benches blend the concrete with branches, leaving a noticeable imprint on the surface. The preserved kapok tree forms a unique dialogue with the garden.
▽叠园平面图 Folded garden plan
▽叠园鸟瞰效果图 A bird ‘s-eye view of the garden
▽武重义的混泥土构筑物与现场保留的木棉花树 Concrete structures of Wu Zhongyi and kapok trees preserved at the site
▽材料的选择到植物的搭配都做到了与构筑物和谐共生 The choice of materials and the collocation of plants have achieved a harmonious coexistence with the structure
▽暮色下的叠园 Stacked gardens in the dusk
▽游客在木棉花下合影拍照 Tourists take photos under the kapok
▽孩子在木棉花下嬉戏 Children are frolicking under kapok
▽混凝土浇筑留下的竹纹肌理挡墙 Concrete pouring left bamboo texture retaining wall
▽时间和记忆凝固在混凝土的墙体 Time and memory solidified in concrete walls
02 砥园Whetstone Garden
Repurposing large pieces of leftover granite from a nearby abandoned electrical substation, a natural water garden was formed through layering, corrosion, and adding new varieties of vegetation. The water flows slowly along the stones under the shade of the plants, creating a casual space for rest and relaxation.
▽砥园平面图 Plan of strode Garden
▽ 砥园鸟瞰效果图 A bird ‘s-eye view of the strode Garden
▽改造后：砥园航拍 After transformation: An aerial shot of Jidyuan
▽人们在砥园前驻足停留休憩 People stop to have a rest in front of the Strop Garden
▽孩子们在老麻石改造的水景前戏水 Children play in front of a water feature transformed from old hemp stone
▽改造后的砥园水景花园为人们提供了临时的休息空间 After the transformation, the Strode Garden waterscape garden provides temporary resting space for people
03 观音井 Guanyin Fountain
Guanyin Fountain was reconstructed based on the ancient well of Guanyin Pavilion, which was destroyed in the war. Starting from the same spot as the original well, the stream gently follows the old path along the stacked stone. Nantou’s memory is preserved through the use of original materials, and the fountain also provides considerable open space for play and rest.
▽观音井平面图 Plan of Guanyin Well
▽观音井鸟瞰效果图 A bird ‘s-eye view of guanyin Well
▽改造后：观音井航拍（历史文物遗址保护区域） After reconstruction: Aerial photo of Guanyin Well (Historical Relic Site Protection Area)
▽保留场地树种：荔枝树 Species reserved: litchi trees
▽历史文物保护：古观音井遗址 Historical relics protection: ancient Guanyin Well site
▽利用现场遗留的老麻石打造叠水景观 Make use of the old hemp stone left over from the site to create stacked water landscape
▽孩子们在观音井的追逐嬉戏 Children in the guanyin well chase play
▽结合古观音井遗址打造的穿街水溪 Combined with the ancient Guanyin well site to create a stream across the street
04 大家乐广场 Grand Joy Plaza
In 2019, Nantou’s old Civic Theatre had to be demolished because of disrepair. The empty space was transformed, and the Civic Theatre’s nickname of “Grand Joy Theatre” was adopted, creating a unique and open place for cultural activities. Through the renovation, Grand Joy Plaza has gradually become a common space for festivals in Shenzhen, as well as the largest urban square in Nantou.
▽大家乐广场平面图 Floor plan of Grand Le Plaza
▽大家乐广场鸟瞰效果图 A bird ‘s-eye view of The Grand Le Plaza
▽大家乐广场为深圳市民提供了活动的开放空间，也成为了南头最大的城市广场 Dajiale Plaza provides open space for shenzhen citizens to do activities, and has become the largest urban square in the south
设计解决的社会问题 Social Problems Addressed by the Design
The Nantou Community Park project is the transformation of a gray streetway into an urban “living room”. By sourcing local materials and integrating new and old elements, a space that blends ancient and modern aesthetics and suits the diverse needs of residents is created in Nantou Ancient City. The design preserves the cultural heritage of the area while injecting new life into the space. Once a disorderly and urban village, Nantou is now a comfortable living community with a flourishing art and business scene. Unlike typical urban village transformation projects which overemphasize the commercialization of these historic landmarks, Nantou Community Park embodies the social responsibility of landscape architects and addresses concerns facing low-income groups in an increasingly unequal city environment. It provides a high-quality, low-cost living space that can be enjoyed by all.
▽南头花园将城中村暗巷转变为城市客厅 Nantou Garden transforms the village alley into an urban living room
▽满足了现代居民多样化的活动需求，也让古城充满原有的生活气息 It satisfies the diversified activity needs of modern residents and fills the ancient city with the original life atmosphere
▽古城从原来低端、杂乱的城中村，变成舒适的生活社区 The old city has changed from a low-end, messy village into a comfortable living community
项目业主： 万科城市研究院 深圳万科
Project name: Node design of Shenzhen Nantou Ancient City
Location: Shenzhen, China
Project area: 9258.9㎡
Design time: 2019-2020
Completion Date: 2021 (continuing construction)
Project owner: Vanke Urban Research Institute shenzhen Vanke
Landscape Design: Lab D+H SH
Design team: Li Zhongwei, Lin Nan, Jiang Wenzhe, Zhang Jiaqian, Li Xiujuan, Shen Yijun, Zhou Jian, Qin Chao, Luo Longyuan, Liu Huan
Photography copyright: Lu Bing
Copyright: Li Congyi
更多 Read more about: Lab D+H