School of Architecture, CUHK

Floating Fields (Shenzhen) by
Prof. Thomas Chung

Recycling architecture as productive leisure pondscape

Floating Fields transforms a 3,200 m2 area of a former flour factory in Shenzhen into a productive pondscape and enjoyable public space. Drawing from site and local traditions, the obsolete industrial site is revived by a self-cleansing eco-water cycle that integrates floating and rooftop plots, fish, duck, silkworm, algae cultivation with filtering ponds. The edible pondscape is designed as a live laboratory researching on regenerative design, urban food production, and low-carbon urban living aspiring to a place-based, bio-social urbanism.

The aquatic theme is inspired by the floating oyster-raft tradition in Shenzhen Bay, and the erstwhile water-based polyculture of Mulberry-Dyke Fish-Pond Silkworm growing in Pearl River Delta (PRD), South China. The site’s existing underground waterway is opened up; the former workers dormitory’s openings and column bay rhythm extend the pond grids and pathway design. Concrete ground is broken up to form larger ponds; crushed rubble recycled as gravel paths. Brick platforms, bridge, steps, benches and pavilions create a walkable landscape combining food production and water recycling. A virtuous cycle of self-sustaining ecology fuses urban agriculture, research lab and animating public space for all.

Floating Fields was awarded the UABB (SZ) 2016 Organizing Committee Grand Prize and is a World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2016 Category Winner: Production Energy And Recycling – Completed Buildings. The project continues as a live experiment and collaboration to refine the eco-water cycle operation, while aiming to become a multi-disciplinary laboratory and research node on sustainable design and green development in the coming year.

Architect + Principal Investigator:
Thomas CHUNG, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Design team:
Sophia AU, Joshua LAM, NG Kai Hong, Sylvia SIU, Bill SO, WONG Ming Chiu

Agriculture Consultant:
Chi Fai FUNG, Founding Member, SEED (HK)

Algae Cultivation Collaborator:
Microalgae Research Team, The Open University of Hong Kong
Prof. HO Kin Chung (Dean, School of Science & Technology, OUHK),
Mr. WONG Yee Keung (Assistant Lecturer, OUHK),
Mr. LEUNG Chi Chung (Research Assistant, OUHK),
CHAN Ka Kwan, CHEN Jun Jie, CHEUNG Ka Yau, HO Ting Hong, LEE Yiu Lun, TSE Chun Yiu, YIU Kui Fan

China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Holdings Co., Ltd.

Commissioned by:
Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale Organizing Committee

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