Designing a contemporary tourist spot while remaining sensitive to ancient Buddhist traditions requires a fine balance – plus a lot of local knowledge and immersive research. Our masterplan and parkland design for the Nanjing Niushoushan Cultural Park creates a low-impact tourism site that enhances both the site’s natural beauty and cultural significance.
Guided by the spirit of Zen, our masterplan for the dense forest site in Nanjing’s mountainous southern Jiangning district was based on the concept of a Buddhist scripture scroll.
The plan balanced the park’s commercial aspects with the mountain’s more restricted sacred areas and laid a sensitive foundation for future local development. Well-connected, landscaped roads and walking and cycling trails connect the park to all of Niushou Mountain’s highlights, including Foding Palace and World Zen Centre.
Following the masterplan, we designed the landscape, plazas and public areas. Visitors start with a serene welcome and are visually guided through a series of Zen gardens by the interpretative Corten steel pathway. This “scroll” ties the spaces together and punctuates focal areas, like the bright mirror path, the Yinlong Lake plaza with its panoramic lake and mountain views and the high wall and site of Bodhidharma’s ‘wall gazing’ meditation.
Viewing platforms, pavilions and rest points sit within the natural setting with minimal visual and environmental impacts, preserving the historic Buddhist monasteries, pagodas and Ming Dynasty relics for future generations.