The majority of the urban site consists of mixed-use commercial, office, hospitality and recreational spaces, loosely arranged around courtyard water gardens. The courtyard typology is paired with a network of streets, laneways and arcades which generate a rich variety of atmospheres and allow the users to experience the spaces intimately.
Visitors are guided, primarily by foot, through the central ‘street’ and into the courtyard spaces via a system of small rain gardens and pools. Not only do these systems act as key wayfinding devices through the site, they also double as the primary water management system. Runoff from the site is led to the large bio-filtration squares which are situated in prominent positions within the courtyards. From the bio-filtration squares, water is filtered through a bio-filtration system and returned to the site for use in grey water and irrigation systems. This water is also used to animate the way-finding features which appear along the street. In order to minimise the frequency of flooding, rain water is stored in an underground tank during periods of high rain, then slowly released into the constructed wetland system.
While the building forms intimately enclose the courtyard spaces, architectural devices such as deep overhangs, shallow floor plates and a permeable ground floor create a comfortable microclimate that is assisted by passive evaporative cooling from the water bodies. The roof is publicly accessible, hosting additional commercial programmes however the typology is also flexible enough to suit private housing. The courtyard water gardens build upon a traditional Chinese typology whilst engaging innovative and transparent systems to manage water. The rain gardens and water squares invite the users to interact with water and treat the resource with sensitivity, creating a rich and unique spatial experience.