The significance of the U.P.Space Rainwater Garden lies in its pioneering role in developing localized knowledge for the design, implementation, and maintenance of LID facilities for north China, much like Portland's SW 12th Avenue green street for the Pacific Northwest.
Massive increase of impervious surfaces has made flooding a national scandal. "No one seems quite sure how to implement the trendy new idea of green infrastructure" - retrofitting the U.P.Space front yard was one of the first actions taken towards solving this predicament.
Located in a post-industrial electronic instrument factory, this rainwater garden transformed a 136m² runoff-generating lawn to an artful and spongy landscape that encouraged other businesses within the factory to also retrofit their gardens.
Rooftop and driveway runoff flows through a series of bioretention terraces before infiltrating through the central sunken garden. An underground cistern provides additional storage during extreme rainstorms. Purified rainwater is reused for irrigation, car-washing and waterscape in two linear troughs.
Since completion in Apr. 2015, the rainwater garden has been able to reuse and infiltrate 100% of the curb-cut inflow and runoff (totaling 57,060 gal. per year) from the 220m² roof and the site itself.
Rainwater trails and garden function are clearly communicated through custom-designed downspout, first-flush pools, the steel and concrete troughs, terrace scuppers and the permeable FRP platform.
Without additional irrigation, careful selection of native plant species ensured a robust lush garden after just one growing season.
Rooftop rainwater visibly slows down in the first flush pools and dissipates into the cascading terraces. A variety of plant species have been experimented in the pools to improve the water quality of the roof runoff.
Rainwater both nourishes the native plants in the central sunken garden and recharges precious groundwater through the infiltrating bioretention soil media.
Gabions filled with recycled rocks from local quarries offer an incredibly low-cost approach to spatial division and rainwater filtering.
In the Fall, the vibrant golden leaves of the well-preserved ash trees saturate the atmosphere with an electrifying feeling.
Day and night, an illuminated firm logo built with salvaged glass boldly expresses the employees' affection towards their workplace.
The latest addition to the garden - a custom-designed "Human and Nature" sculpture gifted by an artist friend, brightens up the dull, smoggy and chilly winters of Beijing.
A bright-colored permeable FRP platform invites everyone - professionals eager to learn Artful Rainwater Design or neighborhood children - to stay and interact with this functioning landscape. An educational sign unreservedly passes on knowledge gained through the design and construction processes.
U.P.Space, as the first design institution in China to put forward the concept and method of sustainable landscape design, insists on leading the ecological landscape industry and has made outstanding achievements for more than ten years. Based on the further and continuous research and development of its product "Sponge City Cell - Rain Garden", the company has opened the road of ecological landscape innovation, and has developed more than ten patented technologies as the sustainable design foundation for long-term development, including Low Impact Development (LID), Rain Garden, Natural Waterscape Creation, Nature-engaging Experience Space, Low-carbon Materials, Nature-engaging Design, and Low Landscape Maintenance Strategy, etc. It has more than 200 excellent projects that have been implemented practically.