Architects: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc.
Location: Shenzhen, China
Design Director: Meng Yan
Project Manager: Xing Guo
Designers: Ding Yu, Wu Kaimao, Liao Zhixiong
Client: Luohu Development & Reform Bureau, Shenzhen
Site Area: 6,870 sqm
Design Period: 2005-2006
Construction Period: 2008-2009
Photographs: Meng Yan
Before the launch of large-scale urban construction Shenzhen was formerly hilly country. Today, it is difficult to see the original landform distinguished from the even city pattern. The Jade Bamboo Garden, which has insufficient connections with the surrounding streets, is one of the few areas partly retaining the original landform and vegetation in the urban center.
The north entrance of the Jade Garden needs to share the remaining land after development of some high-class residential area to actualize a connection with the north roads. After negotiating with the government, the developer agreed to designate the area for urban public space. As compensation, the government agreed to build 50 parking spaces for the developer underneath this public square.
The site has an irregular shape, and the altitude difference of the slope from north to south is almost 13 meters. The semi-open square connected with the city towers above the streets ground about 3 meters above the street. The design keeps the former hilly landform of the site, using traditional form of the Chinese courtyards to create bamboo islands throughout. Such space allows not only the children to play hide-and-seek and other games, but also the old people to play chess, Tai Chi and to perform community music. Starting from the northeast corner of the courtyard, an outdoor corridor shape, like a broken line is built along the existing retaining wall, climbing sinuously on the hillsides, leading to the peak, and extending to the new entrance of the park. There is a series of triangle spaces between the corridor and the wall, redefining the east boundary of the park. Within these defined spaces, bamboo, flowers and trees are mixed together to form amazing Chinese painting pieces. Walking in the corridor, one step together with one scene – the series of spatial experience is the essence of the traditional Chinese garden.
The uplifted corridor cuts the narrow slope into several cultivated terraces with various shapes. Flowers, grass, and crops planted on the terraces encourage local residents and children to come and experience the fun of planting, while the public was led to participate in creating and protecting the community environment as far as possible.
Jumping from the bustle of city life to the rural practice and leisure activities in the bamboo grove shows people’s desire of returning to the countryside and being away from the maddening crowd. This spiritual return creates a link between the traditional nature and the modern city. The Jade Cultural Square is a modern Chinese garden that not only brings people experiences of serenity, but also witnesses and commemorates the original natural environment of the City of Shenzhen.