A treetop walkway becomes a pathway to learning in China

MLA+ architects and ZEN Landscape Architects have created a walkway through the treetops of the historic Xiangmi Park in China, providing visitors with unparalleled views while also connecting them to the new Xiangmi Science Library.

The People’s Government of Futian District, Shenzhen, commissioned the 45-hectare regeneration because while the park was originally a research centre, it had experienced a steady decline in use.

 The stunning tree top walkway takes visitors to the Xiangmi Science Library. Photo credit - Vlad Feoktistov.

The stunning tree top walkway takes visitors to the Xiangmi Science Library. Photo credit - Vlad Feoktistov.

Four new buildings have been added, including a recycling plant and the new library, and all have been designed to blend into the landscape so they are not intrusions but, according to architects MLA+, “devices that reveal some of the qualities of the local natural environment.” In this way, “they stand in the tradition of classical Chinese garden architecture and at the same time they are activators in a contemporary and accessible new open park.”

The Xiangmi Science Library building references local architecture, is lightweight and nestled among the trees. Public areas have been placed on its upper levels so that users are able to enjoy the magnificent views. Designed to be inconspicuous within the park, the library encourages users to interact with nature. 

 This drone shot shows off the walkway. Photo credit - Vlad Feoktistov.

This drone shot shows off the walkway. Photo credit - Vlad Feoktistov.

The terrace on the second floor of the library is connected to a bridge which in turn connects to the elevated walkway extending through the treetops.

ZEN Landscape Architects were able to work with key features of the park, such as a lychee orchard, fishponds and an avenue of palm trees, all of which had been preserved by the research facility.

 The Xiangmi Science Library building references local architecture, is lightweight and nestled among the trees.  Photo credit - Vlad Feoktistov.

The Xiangmi Science Library building references local architecture, is lightweight and nestled among the trees.  Photo credit - Vlad Feoktistov.

The landscaping surrounding the library includes white paving stones, earth-toned pathways, and a wide variety of plants.

Xiangmi Park’s new buildings and landscaping features have both been designed to promote not only recreation, but education within the park. Shenzen wanted to give its citizens new possibilities to experience nature, and the clever design of a floating walkway through the highest part of the forest allows visitors to fully immerse themselves within the horticultural aspects of the facility.

 The project's building and landscape features have been designed to promote edutcation.  Photo credit - Lard Buurman.

The project's building and landscape features have been designed to promote edutcation.  Photo credit - Lard Buurman.