Emerging Architecture Awards



Fishmouth-inspired landscaping

Dujiangyan City, China

December 2004
Over 2000 years ago, the authorities in Dujiangyan City in Chendu, Sichuan Province built one of the wonders of early Chinese agriculture. The Dujiangyan weir allowed irrigation of the whole Chendu Basin using a system in which water was divided among different irrigation canals using fish mouths made of woven bamboo and stones. The weir is still there, and in use. It is now a World Heritage site and a national treasure.
Local prosperity has allowed the old texture of Dujiangyan to be restored and repaired, and one of the new interventions is an urban park which, appropriately, celebrates water. The element gently flows and sparkles down the spiral that grows wider as it descends. A very simple paving treatment, what the designers call small fish mouths, creates a surface which causes constantly-changing ripples that reflect ever-moving light. Clearly, the park is popular, and it appeals to people of all ages.
The jury was greatly taken with the simplicity, efficacy and elegance of the woven water device, but refrained from giving the fish mouths an award because of doubts about the apparently rather trite design of the park perhaps we simply did not have enough information about the whole project.

Turenscape and the Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Peking University: Kongjian Yu, Guo Xuanchang, Shi Ying, Lin Shihong, Yao Zhennan