Haitang River Park

Type Landscape design
Design 2023-2025
Location Haitang Bay, Sanya, China
Size 192,48 ha
Client CR Land
Team Peter Veenstra, Qiuxia Ye, Leire Calvillo, Mariya Protsyk, Yishan Du, Yueying Wan, Agostino Bubbico, Hanzhang Xiao, Mengran Zhang, Cao Yiyun, Guo Yantong, Li Jintong, Liu Jialu, Wen Xin

The Haitang River, its surrounding dunes, and marshlands will become a natural landscape, in which urban, agricultural, and touristic functions are blended in harmoniously. From a sea viewpoint, one can witness the river gracefully flowing through a forested landscape, all the way to the mountains. 

LOLA Landscape Architects won the design competition for the design of the Haitang River Park, in Chinese city of Sanya. The Haitang River project plays a central and crucial role in accomplishing this vision. Numerous natural destinations worldwide lost their distinctive qualities due to tourist over-exploitation. The aim is to strike the right balance between nature preservation and touristic development, harmonize ecology with economy, balance the slow and fast, blend exclusivity and accessibility.

Exclusive nature
Natural biotopes such as mangroves, birds, and fishes, are being restored in collaboration with ecologists. This results in a resilient landscape, ready to face climate challenges. Limited accessibility protects wildlife. The wildlife, silence, and beauty can be enjoyed by all, with the possibility of observing nature through the lens of a guided tour or planned activities.

River journey
In addition to the exclusive nature experience, the river is literally made more accessible. The lines of vegetation planted with mangrove trees prolong and enhance the natural water shape. The river and its


natural landscape can be enjoyed on a boat ride, that brings the visitor to a series of gardens. All gardens have local food and local nature, which are presented in natural and educational forms. They offer the possibility of drinks, lunch, or dinner in a beautiful setting.

Land art
To achieve the right balance between nature and human activity, the river and its slopes are approached as one sculptural ‘object’, like a piece of land art. While nature itself sculpted the site originally, we now take over and shape it with respect to natural processes. We create a sculpture that gives space for the river to breathe, for the tides to take space, for the rainwater to flow. The plants and trees are enabled to blossom, the animals are provided an environment where they can thrive, and the people can sustainably enjoy this spectacle.

The landscape design follows a simple set of rules, based on knowledge of ecology, water management and microclimate. They support the river to be a healthy living organism and they sculpt the area into a unique destination. The idealist park ponds, perfect for a calm walk or a place to celebrate a special milestone.

The lines of vegetation gradually build out from the river shape

A continuous white drape covers the main park path along the river

The tree museum is a display of all the tree species of Haitang island

The art ponds offer a unique space for local food tasting and special events

The fruit forest is one of the park nodes where people can enjoy a local picnic

The main path crossing through different natural areas along the park

The floating islands are a hub for water activities

A linear route offers an epic journey along the river park

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