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SWA Group：Sanshan New Town, a fast-rising urban development in Foshan City’s Nanhai District, is full of hope and vitality. In the New Town’s center lies Sanshan Hillside Park, composed of three hills known respectively as Big Pine Forest, Central Hill, and Liangangwei Hill. This approximately 88-hectare area is envisioned to become an urban forest park with diverse programs and distinctive features, drawing residents from Guangzhou-Foshan (GuangFo) as well as visitors from outside the region. Among the plan’s aims are to create an urban public landscape with mountain features; to achieve unity among environmental, social, and economic benefits; and to create an entertainment and leisure activity space for GuangFo residents.
▽公园栈道鸟瞰 Aerial view of the plank road in the park
▽栈道上的景色动图 Scenery on the plank road
▽栈道休闲亭廊 Plank Road Leisure Pavilion
▽立体式的山体步道 Three-dimensional mountain trail
▽公园局部鸟瞰 Partial bird’s-eye view of the park
▽自然生态的游乐场 Natural ecological playground
▽多元化的活动形式 Diversified form of activities
Relying on its superior natural and cultural resources, the first phase of the park was built in July 2020, and has been open to the public since then. The park has attracted a large number of local residents and tourists, and has greatly improved the regional ecological and local cultural experience. By blending the mountain-city edge, Sanshan Hillside Park expands the flexible and dynamic space of the city, while effectively solving the difficult coordination of a public green space site within a highly urbanized area and providing additional ecological and active functions for forest space. The project comprehensively integrates a leading urban edge expansion into the mountain, and a mountain extension into the city.
▽设计分析 Design analysis
The project planning and design takes the current condition of mountain and water resources into full account, and makes use of the continuous, gently sloping intersection between the mountain and the city to create a composite ecological infrastructure: a resilient boundary around the mountain. Using a “sewing and weaving” method, the park activates popular leisure spaces in the mountain and urban areas in both directions, creating a flexible, multi-faceted mountain-city experience that is both open and self-contained. It is a dynamic and lively space that meets the needs of people of all different ages. The park’s gateway image and convenient mountain climbing trail are enhanced with distinctive plantings, lighted media art, and mountain-inspired signage. The contrast between the mountain’s natural craggy characteristics and the surrounding organized urban fabric highlights the experience of nature at a scale similar to that of New York’s Central Park.
▽场地与周边环境动图 Motion map of the site and surrounding environment
The park has three distinct areas: a natural hillside, an urban development area, and a “resilient edge” in between − consisting of a circular system of rain gardens, waterways, and multi-use trails. These human-centered and flexible spaces provide rich experiences: the openness of the large space at both the bottom and top of the hill contrasts with intimate space under the lush native balsam fir forest. Broad vistas overlook the surrounding area while details including water jets and play devices satisfy children’s curiosity. Adults may find various opportunities to exercise, rest, cool off, and socialize.
With respect and reverence for the original natural environment, the park preserves the maximum existing mountain vegetation, and the design makes full use of infrastructure both within and outside the park. For example, the high-speed railway track crossing the mountain is one of the viewing highlights from the hilltop observation deck. The “gray space” under the highway has become a public exercise area; the foundation of an abandoned electricity tower has been reused as a viewing and recreational platform; and the existing shallow, buried rocks have been reinforced to form gabions and stacked stone retaining walls.
▽公共锻炼场所 Public exercise place
山间步道入口 Gateway to the Mountain Trail
The trail system at the bottom of the hill gradually leads visitors to the wooden gateway canopy. Tucked into dense vegetation, the gateway canopy provides a distinct marker for various mountain trailheads. It frames a visual corridor along the loop trail, celebrating entry into the mountain park.
▽入口木亭 Entrance wooden pavilion
山腰林荫步道 Hillside Canopy Walk
The canopy walk was carefully designed to preserve existing topography while showcasing impressive mountain views. By leveraging the height difference for a viewing trail around the top of the mountain, the design offers opportunities to listen to the wind through the pines, overlook Sanshan New Town, or gaze into the distance toward Canton Tower.
▽多功能的观景步道 Multifunctional viewing trail
The hillside canopy walk connects to a smart mini library at the top of the mountain, which has become a popular destination for hikers to enjoy some reading time in a stunning green forest setting. Hikers can refuel while wait for the sunset in this peaceful space.
▽山顶智能迷你图书馆 Peak Smart Mini Library
山顶观景平台 Hilltop Overlook
Stepping out of the mini-library and heading to the viewing platform at the top of the mountain, the exquisite “high speed train” experience in the clouds is a surprise for the hikers. An inspiring panoramic view of the city is slowly unveiled, with a pleasant view of the forest and the city mingling in harmony.
▽设计草图 Design Sketch
▽山顶观景平台 Peak viewing platform
The design of the viewing platform on the top of the mountain is inspired by the carriages of the high-speed train, which can be placed in pairs around a table or in a single row of seats for solo time. There is also a walkway along the glass parapet of the platform. Hikers sitting on the “high-speed train” in the clouds, looking out from the glass guardrail, also get the typical rail experience of passing through the day into night, through the landscape, through traffic, and through a sea of people.
▽“车厢式”的观景平台 “Car-style” viewing platform
▽云端上的“高铁” “High-speed rail” on the cloud
主入口多功能公园 Main Recreational Park
The recreational park to the north features a variety of active programs and landscape experiences. To remediate the noise and visual impact of the nearby freeway, the Crescent Pavilion and open lawn were carefully oriented, blocking noise from the freeway while improving views. Active lawn space offers the local citizens a brand-new gathering space for leisure activities, festivals, and social interaction. The shade canopy around the lawn also improves the microclimate, providing a comfortable seating area for people to rest and watch games or evening concerts.
▽公园主入口空间 Park main entrance space
▽开敞的阳光草坪，提供聚集活动空间 Open sunny lawn provides gathering space
儿童野趣游乐区 Natural Play
Natural playgrounds and interactive water features offer a series of playful spots for children and mini-cooling stations in the hot summer season. A misting feature is integrated into the paving, providing an unexpected and memorable feature at the entry plaza that draws people into the park.
▽儿童野趣游乐空间 Children’s wild play space
桥下健身活动区 Fitness Area Under the Bridge
Taking advantage of the overhead roadway infrastructure, the park claimed additional shaded spaces for play and fitness programming. The forgotten space under the bridge is effectively utilized, and the traditional “gray space” is fully activated. This has become a popular place for people to exercise, rest, cool off, and socialize. It also avoids fragmentation of the park by the highway, allowing the park to be effectively connected despite it. In the summer, the wind carries cool air from the forest that combines with the shade under the bridge to act as a natural air conditioner; in the wet and cold winter, the sun shines over the space, making it a small “heater” in the park.
▽利用桥下灰空间，打造多功能健身场 Use the gray space under the bridge to create a multi-functional gym
In response to Sanshan Hillside Park’s special geographical location and mountain and forest characteristics, the design team took into account the mountain itself as well as its vegetation and water, along with the high-speed railway line and the highway overpass that crosses the mountain. These features were the basis for the ecological restoration and urban design aspects of Sanshan. The team has created a new type of urban park that satisfies the demands of a healthy and livable city, and attracts visitation and adjacent development. Here, people can enjoy the high-speed rail landscape, experience nature, and also have access to a calm, meditative environment. Sanshan Hillside Park has become Sanshan New Town’s “calling card”: stimulating vitality within the area, serving as a driving force for regional development, and upgrading of the city’s lifestyle and economy – all within a park that flows with light, color, and activity.
▽公园鸟瞰 Aerial view of the park
SWA设计团队：SWA休斯敦工作室 – Scott McCready, Peiwen Yu, Michael Robinson, Fangyi Lu, Xueying Cao
视频监制：SWA – Xiaoyin Kuang
文案制作：SWA – Xiaoyin Kuang
Project Name：Sanshan Hillside Park
Project Location：Sanshan New Town, Foshan, Guangdong
Design Area：88 Hectare
SWA Design Team：SWA Houston – Scott McCready, Peiwen Yu, Michael Robinson, Fangyi Lu, Xueying Cao
Video Executive Producer: SWA – Xiaoyin Kuang
Video Production: Chill Shine
Project Photography: Chill Shine
Article by: SWA – Xiaoyin Kuang, Liz Batchelder
审稿编辑: 王琪 Maggie
更多 Read more about: SWA Group