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Kongjian Yu, China's leading landscape architect, pours me tea in his office in the university district of Beijing and gestures outside.
"Beijing is sprawling, sprawling very fast. It seems like we have nothing to worry about, but we have a serious problem: the water underground is dropping one meter every year. The city is built on a human-controlled system of pipes and drainage, roads and infrastructure. We waste too much time, water, and energy pumping water."
Turenscape, the urban design firm he founded, seeks to correct this imbalanced approach to planning through a focus on "green infrastructure."
Where conventional industrial planning subordinates nature to human development, green infrastructure gives priority to ecology.
This approach comes with ambitious goals: "It looks to conserve water, avoid natural disasters, preserve natural habitats and the authenticity of the cultural landscape, and maximize protection of fertile, agricultural land. We want to make cities productive in terms of water and food."
And yet for all its scope, the ecological imperative can be summarized in one thought:
"We need to be attached to the land," says Yu.
Considered China's leading landscape architect, Kongjian Yu has been an urban and regional planning professor at Peking University since '97 and is the founder and dean of PKU's Graduate School of Landscape Architecture. He's also the founder of Turenscape, an award-winning firm with a practice that covers architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. He holds a Doctor of Design from Harvard's GSD and has lectured at more than 30 universities worldwide. www.pbs.org...
Yu Kongjian, a professor of landscape architecture at Peking University, argues that China's current approach to urban development, with its emphasis on size and status over originality, is as environmentally reckless as it is visually dull. With farmland and forests disappearing and water running out, Yu says, cities can't afford be so wasteful: "China needs a dramatic shift. We've misunderstood what it means to be developed. We need to develop a new system, a new vernacular, to express the changing relationship between land and people." www.time.com...
Built on a brownfield of a former industrial site, Houtan Park is a regenerative living landscape on Shanghai’s Huangpu riverfront. The park’s constructed wetland, ecological flood control, reclaimed industrial structures and materials, and urban agriculture are integral components of an overall restorative design strategy to treat polluted river water and recover the degraded waterfront in an aesthetically pleasing way. www.archdaily.com...
Turenscape was founded by Doctor and professor Kongjian Yu (Doctor of Design,GSD,Harvard University). It was officially recognized and certificated as a first-level design institute by the Chinese government.
Having over 600 professionals, Turenscape is an integrated team that provides quality and holistic services in:
Architecture Landscape architecture Urban planning and design Environmental design
Turenscape's projects have earned it a great international reputation for innovative and environmentally sound designs. Our project has been internationally and nationally recognized, including:
2010 World’s Best Landscape of the year,
World Architecture Festival Awards,
Architecture Review. 2010 ASLA Award of Excellence, General Design,
The Houtan Park of 2010 Shanghai Expo .
2010 ASLA Honor Award, General Design,Qinhunagdao Beach Restoration.
2010 ASLA Honor Award, General Design,Tianjin Qiaoyuan Park.
2010 Excellence on the Waterfront Award,The Red Ribbon, Tanghe River Park,
2009 Excellence on the Waterfront Award,The A Regenerative Surgery: The Beach Restoration of Qinghuangdao City
2009 World's Best Landscape Award of the World Architecture Festival Awards, Architecture Review.
2009 ULI Global Award for Excellence, Urban Land Institute.
2009 ULI Asian Pacific Award for Excellence
2009 Excellence on the Waterfront Award
2009 The National Habitat Award, China.
2008 Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honor Award
2008 Highly Commended, The Architecture Review.
2008 The International Architecture Award
2007 Ar Emerging Architectural Award (The Architectural Review, UK)
2007 Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honor Award (Waterfront Center, USA) 2007 ASLA Design Honor Award (American Society of Landscape Architects)
2006 ASLA Design Honor Award (American Society of Landscape Architects) 2005 ASLA Design Honor Award (American Society of Landscape Architects)
2005 ASLA Honor Award, Planning and Analysis (American Society of Landscape Architects)
2005 Human Habitat Award (The Ministry of Construction, China)
2005 The Emerging Architects Ar+d Commended (The Architecture Review)
2004 The Gold Medal of Fine Arts (The Chinese Cultural ministry, Chinese Society of Fuine Arts)
2002 ASLA Design Honor Award (American Society of Landscape Architects)
2001 Human Habitat Award (The Ministry of Construction, China)