Sweetening urban design

Nick Myall
Wednesday 30 May 2018

Due to complete in three phases over the next 10 years, a cultural, tourism and leisure park is to take shape on the site of a former sugar factory in China

A disused sugar factory in Zhuhai’s Jinwan District in China is set to be revitalized into an integrated cultural, tourism and leisure park. Woods Bagot’s master plan both celebrates the proud heritage of Zhuhai’s once prosperous sugar industry, while creating a future for the Hongqi Zhen Sugar Factory site.

The former factory began production in 1960 and was once a key pillar of Southern China’s sugar plantation and processing industry. As the local economy evolved over the following decades, the industry declined, leading the Hongqi Zhen Sugar Factory to close its doors in 2003.

Due to complete in three phases over the next 10 years, the 78,877-square metre development will feature a boutique hotel, a chocolate factory, a wedding venue and start-up offices, a sugar industry museum as well as a diverse F&B and retail offering.

Charlie Chen, Studio Leader – Urban Design, Woods Bagot, said: “It is a privilege to create a place where a whole community can capture and celebrate their proud industrial history. At the heart of our strategy is a desire to inspire and engage the diverse people that will enjoy the site - from locals and former factory workers to tourists, families and children alike. The result will be a showcase of old and new, and provide Zhuhai with a rich cultural landmark for generations to come.”

Different thematic zones will provide contrasting sensory experiences for visitors, from the energetic retail street and creative workshop spaces to the tranquil wedding lake and wetland boardwalk. Murals, façade installations and sculptures will engage, educate and commemorate the past along the way. 

A central park will form the core of the site, with other landscape features including a floral garden walk, a sculpture garden, a farming experience as well as scenic waterscapes and wetlands adapted from existing ponds and former industrial waterbodies.

Woods Bagot’s strategy will retain and repurpose as many existing structures as possible, and then introduce new buildings and landscapes that complement their industrial aesthetic. As part of this process, over 40 existing structures were carefully assessed for their heritage value, scale and spatial quality.

The former-factory’s red brick chimney towers will provide a visual landmark at the highest point of the site, with newer buildings rising only 2-3 storeys to create a harmonious synergy and differentiate them from the taller historic buildings.

Harmony with the local environment will be encouraged through a sustainability strategy which will include solar roofs, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling and the promotion of low carbon transport options, including bikes and scenic water taxis.

The WAN Future Projects Civic Award 2018 is open for entries 

Click here for more details or email wanawards@haymarket.com

Nick Myall

News editor

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