Nature as Infrastructure- An Interview with Kongjian Yu

An architecture report from Domus by Ethel Baraona Pohl

Turenscape’s founder Kongjian Yu demonstrates how nature can be a cost-free service provider in an urban context. Ecology is a synonym of economy

The cross-disciplinary project is an urban stormwater park and a national nature reserve. It filters storm water from the city and protects against flooding. The new urban district of Qunli New Town was zoned with only 16.4% of developable land as permeable green space

Ethel Baraona: Let’s talk about the close relationship you have with natural environments. Where does this interest come from?
Kongjian Yu In Chinese tu means dirt, earth and ren means people, man. So, Turenscape means “people from the land”, the wonderful metaphor behind our name is that we are “the land and the people”. I come from a rural area and grew up with people who lived there for decades, which gave me a true sense of nature. I started Turenscape with my wife and a friend. One of our first projects began in 2000. We finished it in 2002. Suddenly it became really famous. People were admiring projects they never had seen before in China.

A network of walkways is built into the pond-andmound ring allowing visitors to observe the wetland, which Turenscape planted with native marsh grasses and silver birch trees. Platforms and viewing towers lend panoramic views of the surroundings

Is ecology part of an economical system?
That is a key point. Economy means ecology. Nature has no waste. If species can’t have minimum energy to survive, they die. So, nature is economy. We should consider the city as an organism and parks should provide all these services. At the same time this project is very economic. We used a very simple cut-and-fill system on the ring with a minimum cost. We built the sky-walk, a kind of jungle inside the park, with wood, bamboo, stone: all local materials. And it is important as a social node too.

Read the full interview

Read other posts on Turenscape and Konjian Yu
Terragrams -delivering the landscape

The Conscientizacao of the Landscape: An Interview with Kongjian Yu

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