The World Horticultural Expo has become instigator and hub for the redevelopment of a large area between the airport and the centre of Xi’an. The ancient capital of the Qin Dynasty city, home of the Terracotta Army is today a major business centre for the vast interior of the Chinese mainland.


TYPE Masterplan Exhibition Area
STATUS Competition 1. prize, Built
LOCATION Xi'an, China
YEAR 2011
CLIENT Chan Ba Ecological District

DESIGN TEAM Jorge Ayala, Eva Castro, Kezhou Chen, Steve De Micoli, Ulla Hell, Hossein Kachabi, Holger Kehne, Elisa Kim, Nadia Kloster, Rui Liu, Filipo Nassetti, Chuan Wang


Plasma Studio, in collaboration with GroundLab, won this international com¬petition with a radical self-sustain-able vision. The project comprises of a 5000m2 Creativity Pavilion, a 4000m2 Greenhouse and a 3500m2 pedestrian bridge set in a 37 ha landscape. The Expo opened in 2011 to approximately 15 Mio visitors.

Accomodating and channeling the given flows of visitors whilst offering them choices and variety, Flowing Gardens unfolds into many sinuous paths, creating a network for intermingling circulation, landscape and water. These paths vary in width, ranging from main walkways and arteries to towpaths. In this manner, the park areas manifests a variety of scales in association with specific planting, surface treatment and lighting, providing a sandbox of experiences that range from the very intimate, with semi-enclosed, self contained, one- to-one spaces, to the very public, with communal plazas formed by wider pedestrian paths and a direct, uninterrupted visual link to the main hiatus on the site.

The project’s distinctive layout, reminiscent of a root system, articulates the hybridization of both natural and artificial systems. Rainwater is collected within pockets of wetland and recycled for irrigation.

The landscape legacy plan is phased to gradually transform from an international showcase for Millions of visitors towards a sustainable local asset for the evolving community around. Local plant species help to reduce maintenance and ground the new Chan-Ba central park within its context.