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Jinji Lake Townhouse Community – RhineScheme

Feasibility study

An unusual type of residential community has been designed on the shore of Jinji Lake combining a multitude of qualities:

  • Suitable for all generations with regard to architecture and living style.
  • Suitable for all kinds of buyers who appreciate neighbourhood and relaxed atmosphere in the same way as they appreciate privacy and undisturbed family life.
  • Modern, but not uniform architecture, using natural and high-quality materials, embedded in a quasi-natural, not over-designed landscape
Location
Suzhou / China
Client
Jinghope Investment Management (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.
Design
2008
Site area / GFA
4.4 ha / 17,500 m²
Sufficient number of different house types that avoids …
  • Sufficient number of different house types that avoids any feeling of repetition and monotony.
  • Easy access from every single house to a spacious internal green area.
  • House clusters, different in scale and shape, giving individuality to every house location and forming neighbourhood squares to encourage social contacts.

The main community entrance is from the west side, from a turnaround in a rather calm and hidden side street. Entering the community by car, one will pass by a bridge over a small canal. The first impression is the club building which frames the central green area on its west side. The ground floor of the club is generously glazed, so that you can catch a view of the attractive central waterscape already from the entrance.
The urban pattern follows a clear and simple idea: hard shell – soft core. Along the plot borders: taller houses in a rather regular and rigid order – in the middle: lower houses in a more random and casual arrangement.
These houses are forming altogether 4 clusters, separated cross-wise by the north-south green belt, the club and the eastern pedestrian entrance. In every cluster there is a small community square.

Streets, squares, public green and private gardens are closely interconnected and form a unique network: A spacious interior landscape, completely car-free, goes from north to south, widens in the centre around the club with a small lake and ends in a public terrace along the canal in the south. The houses which border this green area are constantly changing the direction, and there is a sequence of narrow and wide spaces. The central green forms a natural landscape with meadows, groups of trees and water – similar to an English-style landscape park. It is a place for relaxing, meeting, meditating, playing, and sporting, all in an unorganized, casual way. Not too much design, not too much decoration.
The main street will be experienced like a panorama road: It is interrupted by the community squares, it crosses bridges, it is once narrow, once wide, it opens views into the landscape, views to inside and to outside, and ends in a view towards the canal.

Equal advantages for all house types and locations are provided: All houses along the borders have big gardens, some of them even two and most of them facing two directions.
All courtyard houses have gardens which either directly face the inner green or a neighbourhood square, or both of them. Even the inner semi-detached houses with relatively small gardens can enjoy good views either to the lake or towards the inner green.

All in all, 5 different house types are offered, each of them providing the qualities of a small villa. Traditional townhouses (“row houses”) could be avoided in order to achieve a maximum marketing value. From totally 70 houses, 90% are either detached or semi-detached. Even the 10% houses with neighbours on two sides can be regarded as small single villas.
The type distribution follows a clear hierarchy in size and location: Detached villas (300m²) along the canal, with best conditions facing south and water, 2.5 levels semi-detached houses (240m²) along the Western and Eastern borders, 2 levels L-shaped courtyard houses (220m²) around the central green area.

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Scope of services
Conceptual urban and building design
Design team
Wolf Loebel, Yang Liu