Shunde Joy Marina Shunde, China

Shunde Joy Marina
Location: Shunde, China
Client: Guangdong Shunde Oversea Town Industrial Development
Architects: Laguarda Low Architects
Size: 5.5 hectares
Status: completed 2021

Once a traditional agricultural county, the Shunde district has become one of the most affluent counties in Guangdong and mainland China. Situated in the fertile the Pearl River Delta, the economy was once dominated by agriculture, fisheries and silk farming. Since the implementation of policies related to reform and openness began in 1978, the people of this area were given full control over their geographical position and culture. This has allowed Shunde to gradually develop into a modern industrial epicenter for the production large-scale commodities such as electric appliances and automobiles within a recently opened technology center. China’s southern city of Shunde also joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as the city of gastronomy, making it an attractive and dynamic tourism destination.

Tasked with creating a unified landscape for both visitors and commuters alike, the design approach ultimately unites the natural realm with the built realm. The result: a residential and commercial development is imagined as a mineral landscape transitioning between an urban edge and an active waterfront.

Following the grain of the architecture, paving is comprised of self-same units that have been scaled up and down to differentiate spaces, from smaller intimate spaces to expansive plazas. This pattern evokes a geologic cracking which unifies the groundplane with the surrounding architecture and providing a thematic framework for further invention.

At the urban edge, lush vegetation is used to soften the space while providing an acoustic and visual buffer from the adjacent roadway. The paving pattern gives form to a series of stormwater gardens that collect and filter urban runoff. At the main entry points, sculptural stainless-steel rocks serve as both wayfinding elements and contemporary paifang gateways to the Palm Tree Avenues which connect to the Waterfront Rocks Corridor beyond. Along these avenues, boulder pavilions, composed of metal lattice provide areas of shade, gathering, and respite.

At the waterfront, the paving culminates in a waterside plaza with faceted seating elements, sculptural lattice shade structures, and outdoor dining platforms. Timber terraces aggregate from this plaza, leading down to a water plaza adjacent to the waterway, promoting an intimate relationship with the water’s edge. A stage, positioned at the apex of this space, allows for performances with multiple surrounding promontory spaces for audience enjoyment.