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This building's for the birds

The design for the ecological corridor takes full advantage of the changes in elevation as the water flows down into the Lu'an River.

The corridor incorporates observation platforms, a children's play land, cultural facilities, teahouses, bridges, parks and wetlands connected by walkways and cycling paths.

The area has been replanted with a wide range of indigenous trees such as willow and poplar, shrubs, plants, reeds and grasses.

A key part of the strategy is the creation of bead-like wetlands that regulate floods by collecting and distributing urban storm water runoff. When the river's water level drops to its lowest point, pools of water remain in the beads as wetlands. Wetlands also purify and filter river water, which is now a usable source of "gray" water.

The upper two sections are complete, while the wetland downstream is still under construction. The cost is estimated at 630 million yuan (US$97 million).

Judges at the World Architecture Festival awards said the greenway project demonstrates "how a desolate and polluted wasteland can be transformed into a wilderness of natural beauty. As such they have gifted us with a shining exemplar and a beacon of hope."

WAF Awards, now in its fourth year, attracted more than 700 submissions from 66 countries. The annual event is held in Barcelona.


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