Baiyangdian Waterfront

Xiong’an, China

Baiyangdian Waterfront

The new city of Xiong-an is intended to become the innovation and enterprise capital of Northern China, an exceptional project speaking of a new quality of living. Located on the shoreline of a vast and well-loved shallow lake complex full of lotus, reeds, and rich with avian and aquatic habitat it is also highly sensitive to pollution and flooding that would normally result from this urbanization. Our mission was to create a landscape along the shoreline that would regulate flooding and calibrate runoff city-wide while also dramatically cleaning that water as it recharges the lake and wetlands. It worked! This project for a new marina and levee complex is the major increment of the new hydrology, preserving and enhancing the aquatic habitat, and extending the beloved fleet of small touring boats for the community and those who make a living off the reed and lotus harvests.

The design of the Baiyangdian Waterfront Park is inspired by the original landscape pattern of ‘Lotus Pond-Reed Sea’, to interpret the past and to solve modern flooding and ecological problems with a series of eco-levees and a new public marina.’

Eastern China is home to a number of vast shallow lakes; Baiyangdian, the site of the new city of Xiong-an is one of them. A regional watershed with nine rivers feeds the lake which despite its size reaches a depth of only 3 meters at the center. The lake has always been fragile and is highly susceptible to agricultural pollution from surrounding farms as well as cycles of flood and drought now intensified by climate change.  Normally the outputs of the proposed Xiong-an new city of a million people would only make matters dramatically worse; but this project does the opposite. Through a regional effort the inputs from the watershed have been cleaned up and a complex series of planted levees of varying scales and locks regulates water levels. The runoff of the new city is extensively managed and recycled within its own systems before depositing only clean, fresh water to the lake. This new hydrologic stability now allows the lake to begin to clean and consolidate its waters and sediment once more through the lush native reeds and lotus. This renews its importance as a major stop on the Asian Flyway and lake and surrounding forests are home to tremendous and highly diverse species of birds as well as aquatic mammals and fish – the lake is again bursting with life.

The lake has a long cultural history and has been a source of community well-being through the harvests of fish, reeds, and lotus root. People love boating within the maze of channels through the reeds and open water which has led to the construction of a new marina to serve the communities desire for natural experiences and peaceful recreation. They love hiking, running, and cycling along the network of levees and embankments some of which extend far into the reeds and water. In this way the recovered lake can become the key ecological amenity and open space of a new city without being destroyed by urbanization…but in fact improved and renewed by it.

The new Baiyangdian Waterfront Park was recently opened to the public including a series of reed-roofed pavilions full of exhibits and historical demonstrations. The surrounding landscape is a composition of ponds and bridges displaying the ecological dynamics and principal species to be found during one’s afternoon boat excursion. The eco-levee and marina project is the first open space / natural system project for Xiong-an, a powerful demonstration of new ecological priorities and first principles of the new city.


Xiong’an, China


2.3square kilometer, Phase I construction:31.95HA ( Land Area: 16.33HA, Water Area:15.62 HA)


Waterfront, Public Park


Administration Committee for the Xiongan New Area


Phase I, 2022


International Design Awards, Silver in Architecture Categories / Landscape

ASLA-NCC Design (Park, Recreation, Trails, Open Space) Merit Award