Fangshan Global Geopark is recognised as one of the most important sites in the world in terms of archaeological discoveries and impressive geological formations. In 1993 the Nanjing Man was discovered within its boundaries - human remains dating back approximately 600,000 years - and thousands of tourists flock to the park each year to enjoy its stunning topography, including double-layered structures of marble and granite and underground ‘karstic art palace’.
To accommodate the needs of these enthusiastic tourists, the Nanjing Tangshan Construction Investment and Development Company is undergoing a vast project which will see a Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark Museum constructed within the 15 hectare park, 40km east of Nanjing. HASSELL has been commissioned to design the public realm for the Museum, due to be completed by August 2014 in time for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
HASSELL’s sensitive landscaping speaks to the existing topography of the site to generate a smooth pattern of movement between public and private facilities, and the surrounding transport infrastructure. The team also plans to integrate a number of micro-ecosystems to support specific plant growth among various sustainable features such as a cleansing waterway to treat site run-off. Interpretative narratives will be displayed in the public realm to document the impressive history of the region integrated into a series of themed landscapes.
The team explains: “The design proposal was required to simultaneously cater for the tourist park’s combination of commercial interests, while respecting and celebrating its exceptional natural, historical and cultural qualities. It needed to provide a harmonious, contemporary forecourt for the new national museum, as well as a large-scale, gateway parkland that is clearly linked and integrated with the wider geopark and surrounding urban context.”