An Ancient Canal – A New Life The Bodu Canal is a more intimate mid scale canal of Wuxi originally constructed to provide irrigation for farming in ancient times. In modern times it has become more neglected due to industry and urbanization with little amenity, connectivity and appeal for users to visit and appreciate its rich culture and history. The city therefore sought to revitalize it through a selected international design competition for its important middle stretch, extending nearly three kilometers, in an area currently experiencing urban renewal. The challenge of the project was how to bring activity, culture and people to the canal in a meaningful and enriching way. Waterfront Master Plan – Dragons Head + Phoenix Tail The winning master plan for the canal revitalization sees the entire canal as a memory line of ancient times. Along this length the south side of the canal is gentler and relaxed for slow community use and enjoyment while the north bank is more active with several commercial and cultural hubs and small harbors. The plan is anchored by three complementary canal stretches. 1. West (Dragon Head) – a dramatic sweeping gateway featuring a snaking pedestrian bridge, small activity harbor, series of pavilions and a carefully sculpted water edge. 2. Central (Main Body) – a naturalistic stretch focused on water polishing with an existing water treatment plant, new wetland, extensive forest replanting and nature exploration opportunities. 3. East (Phoenix Tail) - a remnant of the areas initial farming and irrigation culture with flowering orchards, farm fields and community and recreation activity areas including the retention and reuse of old industrial red brick factories for community use. ( Western segment has been completed, while eastern segment is still under construction) Renewing the Canal – First Stage Works The initial implementation works commenced in 2019 and have focused on following though the master plan intent with a focus upon: -Providing continuous, safe and enjoyable longer distance access for local citizens to walk, cycle and stroll through a multipurpose recreational pathway on the southern embankment -Creating a series of playful and diverse landscape pavilions that provide community functions (library, mothers’ room, exhibition) with service function (amenities, etc) -Allowing better and controlled access to the canal itself to see, feel and touch the ancient revitalized canal itself Project Significance to Landscape Architecture The project highlights how landscape architects are vital to the process of revitalizing canals and waterways in a balanced way that reflects modern community and commercial needs with a strong understanding of culture.
Founded in 1981 by British Architect J. Prescott, EADG is a leading landscape architecture design practice with several decades’ experience in Asia spanning urban planning, destination and themed attraction design and the detailed implementation of a large number of quality mixed use projects, commercial hubs and residential communities.
During the break-neck speed of change of urban development in the Asia-Pacific region, EADG has been integral to the shaping of urban systems, natural ecologies and public communities.
The company currently has hundreds of professionals and won numbers of both international and domestic awards. It has successively established companies and offices in mainland China (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and others) and worldwide including Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong.
AARCH-MI, which designed the pavilions located in the Bodu Canal project with EADG team, is an architectural office based in Milan, founded in 2015 and started to cooperate with EADG since 2018.
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