Heart of the Lake - 2016 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist
June 23, 2016
Location: Xiamen, China
Developer: Vanke Real Estate Enterprise
Designer: Robert A.M. Stern Architects and BIAD
Size/Dimensions: 23.475 acres
Heart of Lake is a mixed residential garden city development in Xiamen located at a 25-acre site on Huxindao Island. In order to achieve high density in a 21st century garden city, the designers combine point towers with low- to mid-scale buildings organized along a hierarchy of landscaped public spaces, a central park, intimate courtyards, stone-paved plazas, and a clubhouse as the neighborhood gateway and social center. The completed development incorporates 21,527.82 sq. ft. of retail space and 2.12 million sq. ft. for residential units, with 2 levels of below grade parking.
One of the fundamental goals at Heart of the Lake is the establishment of a high density garden city that provides the variety of living options one might find in a traditional city while conserving land for public uses. This has been achieved by creating a hierarchy of building types ranging from high-rise and mid-rise apartment buildings to townhouses and single-family villas. The towers are located to the east of the site along the major pedestrian avenues while the other building types are situated on side streets where the perimeter blocks create smaller communities. By orienting all the towers in this manner, they do not cast long afternoon shadows, maximizing the amount of natural light for all living spaces and gardens and providing all residents with water views.
The project’s architectural vocabulary, inspire by both traditional Chinese and Mediterranean architecture, takes advantage of local materials and construction techniques in order to capture breezes form the north and mediate the climate on site. Heart of Lake is organized by a modified street grid, with primary circulation along two landscaped pedestrian greenswards aligned to catch the northerly breezes, and perpendicular secondary streets to introduce a more intimate scale. A public waterfront park that wraps the peninsula, neighborhood parks, and private courtyards and gardens enhance the pedestrian experience. Heart of the Lake is able to achieve this fully pedestrian development by locating all parking and service below grade. Residents arriving by car enter the underground parking at the boundary of the site via ramps and access the street level via elevators and stair towers which also serve as light wells for the parking structure.