Suspended Ground: the Landscape Approach that Enabled One Shenzhen Bay to Redefine Luxury by Reconnecting with its Setting

Blake Sanborn
Principal Director of Landscape Architecture
AECOM, San Francisco

The session will demonstrate how landscape can interface with tall buildings to create an oasis within an urban environment. This talk will focus on the innovative on-structure urban landscapes created at One Shenzhen Bay. The extensive open-spaces include public plazas, elevated promenades, green roofs, residential amenities, two blocks of retail and active streetscapes. All of this (with exception of the streetscape) is built on structure and yet the results look nothing like a simple green roof.

A Sustainable Design Approach

Learn how the design team conceived of and built over three acres of gardens to create a sustainable and resilient cityscape. Design inspiration stems from the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and placid waterways but the character of the project is intentionally modern. The striking forms of the landscape at One Shenzen Bay play a key role in the project’s sustainability measures. In response to Shenzhen’s intense heat and torrential rains, designers created a folded terrain to both channel rainwater and insulate the buildings below from heat gain. Stormwater is absorbed to reduce peak storm loads on the surrounding drainage infrastructure. Reflecting pools passively cool residents. To reduce energy loads, moving water is limited. Trellises, green and blue roofs, and photovoltaic panels shield rooftops. Light colored stone is used for all primary pedestrian surfaces and walls to reduce the urban heat island affect. The granite is locally sourced. Mature trees line the streets and shade the interior of the site. Biomass was maximized by vegetating many walls and slopes in addition to the ground plane. The most sustainable aspect of the project may be the density achieved over two blocks.