An exploration of designed water in traditional and contemporary Chinese landscape architecture

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Li, Yanchun
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the cultural roots of water used in Chinese traditional built landscapes and the expanded use of water in contemporary design. Review of the literature revealed three sets of water typologies and four sets of water-related design principles associated with traditional and contemporary built landscapes in China. Case studies of contemporary parks in Shanghai, China were selected: three designed by Canadian landscape architects, the other three designed by local Chinese professionals. Assessment of the six sites revealed the extent to which the typologies and principles were evident in each case study. Analysis revealed similarities and difference in the extent to which the typologies and principles had been applied by both Canadian and Chinese designers. The results are presented in a format intended to assist contemporary landscape architects who are interested in further understanding water related design that reflects a sensitivity to Chinese culture.

cultural roots, water, Chinese, traditional, built landscapes, contemporary design