Central Green Forest Park

HASSELL

Architects: Hassell Studio
Location: Beijing, China
Area: 5.5 km2
Year: 2020
Photography: Xi Rao and Xuefeng Li

From a Contaminated Industrial Estate to a 5.5 sq km Oasis of Nature in the Heart of Beijing, China.

The Central Green Forest Park has been essential to the ecological recovery of a site that was a former chemicals factory. It has fast become one of Beijing’s most popular green spaces, playing host to an array of recreation and education activities.

Designed around the traditional 24-season Chinese lunar calendar, the park’s mosaic of flexible forest rooms emphasizes the changing seasons and will change as the park matures over time. From bird watching areas to playgrounds, botanic gardens, sports fields, observation hills and sculpture parks, the patchwork of rooms offers endless possibilities for recreation.

The park’s design is based on a winning response to a visionary competition convened by the Beijing government, and the overall design is the result of collaboration between Hassell and a range of partners and consultants. Hassell then went on to complete the delivery of the Autumn and Winter sections of the park.

Phenology, the study of periodic events in biological life cycles, helped guide our approach to planting and creating authentic seasonal journeys for visitors.

For example, the behavior of various species of birds – like geese flying north, magpies building nests and ring-necked pheasants beginning to crow – influenced the planting design for the Minor Cold area.