Jialing & Yangtze Residences @ Raffles City Chongqing
By : WAA +
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Landscape & Territories : Grand Winner
Categories : Landscape Architecture / Landscape Architecture - Housing Project : Platinum Winner
Renowned for its lush, green mountains and deep valleys carved by the mighty Yangtze and Jialing Rivers, the city of Chongqing has managed to retain its unique natural splendor while erupting as a megacity that is now home to over 30 million residents.
Remarkably, there is no better place to appreciate these unique geographic qualities than from the city’s urban center. Situated in the CBD at the estuary of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers, Raffles City Chongqing is a mixed-use mega-project that sits adjacent to the city’s famed Chaotianmen Plaza. Amid the project’s many functions are the Jialing & Yangtze Residences, two luxury residential properties aptly named for the scenic rivers they overlook. Each of their gardens have been thoughtfully designed to offer their residents a range of activities, while celebrating the majestic mountains and rivers that embrace them.
Amongst the numerous lounges, lawns, secluded groves, butterfly gardens, playgrounds, and sports courts that the spaces offer, the swimming pools stand out as a unique selling point of the residences. Each garden features striking infinity pools at the podiums edge that overlook their respective riverscapes. To ensure a seamless vista, the pools have been raised above the podium’s parapet and are accompanied by poolside lounges, cabanas and hot tubs. Changing rooms have been incorporated beneath the elevated decks while shallow kid’s pool occupies the lower deck, accented with bubbler jets and twinkling light effects. The team opted to move away from traditional blue pool tiles in favor of a local green marble, which faithfully complements the hues of the rivers and adjacent mountain forests.
Catering to the many families living in the units, integrated playspaces are also featured within each garden. Working with Nordic supplier Lappset, each playground is a nod to Chongqing’s topography, featuring geometric landforms which presents kids of all ages with unique dexterity challenges.
The gardens’ planting schedule references the region’s many mountainous hot springs – a natural feature for which Chongqing is known. Among the diverse selection of local trees are various palms, elms, maples, jacaranda, albizia, and bauhinia, all carefully chosen to ensure rich continuous seasonal interest.
Although similar in programming and layout, the design team looked to the site’s history to impart each of these gardens with their own unique identity. Examining drawings depicting the ancient walled city of Chongqing, the team discovered that 2 of the old city’s 17 gates – known as the ‘West Water Gate’ and ‘Green Mountain Gate’ – sat immediately adjacent to the Residences. This etymology informed the accents of each garden and feature prominently in each garden’s unique entry gate motif and planting character. The Jialing Garden – pulling inspiration from the historic ‘West Water Gate’ – features a lotus gate motif and is accentuated by several water plants, such as willows and metasequoias. The Yangtze Garden – referencing the ‘Green Mountain Gate’ – uses bamboo as both a motif and planting feature, along with Ficus trees, pines and other species native to the nearby ‘green mountains’.
The Jialing & Yangtze Residences at Raffles City Chongqing stand as a seminal example of how a residential landscape can truly embrace its sense of place. It’s both a testament to and a celebration of Chongqing, a city where its dense urban centre can beautifully cohabit with its majestic mountains and famed rivers.