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13 September 2018

HOK’s Claudia Juhre Discusses the Greening of China’s Residential Developments

The South China Morning Post talks to the Hong Kong-based HOK landscape architect about the movement to incorporate more elements from nature into the design of multifamily housing.

Excerpted from the South China Morning Post:

While colossal construction projects continue across China, a number of international landscaping practices have found developers of multifamily housing in the country are thinking more about how to integrate elements of nature into spaces, be they grass-filled courtyards, sparkling fountains or meditation gardens.

The trend is certainly driven by consumer demand, said Claudia Juhre, a senior landscape designer based in HOK’s Hong Kong studio.

“Bringing contemporary green elements into designs is almost a must in order to attract rental parties or buyers,” she said. As a consequence, Juhre is noticing demand among developers, and buyers and renters, for rooftop gardens, communal spaces, green walls and “any material or measure that makes [them] feel like they are contributing to the environment”.

Projects that Juhre is working on include Gulang Water Town (above and top images), in Tianjin, northeast China, a mixed-use development incorporating residential and commercial real estate along the seaside. Given the location, Juhre selected plants that thrive in salt water—a move, she said, that was heavily encouraged by local landscapers and the client in order to promote biodiversity. Also in the works are outdoor sculptures, relaxation areas, and playgrounds.

Juhre said that as more developers focus on superior landscaping, the idea of what constitutes “prestigious” housing will continue to change.

“Luxury living is not all about expensive and exclusive any longer,” she said. “It’s also about the conscious [attitudes] toward our planet. This universal trend has taken off in China as much as it has in Western countries. There are a few developers who are morally motivated to follow sustainable concepts.”

South China Morning Post