“Rice Field Campus”, Shenyang Architectural University, China
As to a country with 1.3 billion people, both food production and sustainable landscape design are vital to every Chinese landscape designer. The Shenyang Architectural University is situated in the North China Liaoning Province with 80 hectares suburban campus. The 3-hectare project is situated in the campus’ southwest. It was been awarded the Design Honor Award in 2005 by ASLA. Kongjian Yu’s concept for the campus had two major objectives: creation of a high-quality environment for education and incorporation of elements of the traditional agricultural landscape as a symbol and reminder of the historical and contemporary role of agriculture in China. Agriculture is becoming understandable and accessible to everyone in the campus. ”Both, farming and observing the plants’ natural processes offer educational opportunities.”
This working landscape is an example of Yu’s “big foot” aesthetics – being beautiful by being productive (William Saunders 2012). Productivity creates new aesthetic values. The project shows that the productive urban landscape combines with the environment and creates a cultural identity with the Chinese traditional agricultural civilisation.
The campus was designed into a functional rice paddy with many other native crops which support the campus’ student dining rooms and are given to school visitors as a gift called “Golden Rice”. Both the farming and harvesting process are a good opportunity for participation and experiment.
For further information see the project’s own website.
Image: Masterplan of Shenyang Architectural University showing the position of the Rice Fields (source: Turenscape Landscape Architecture www n.d.)