Ⓒ 2023

moss. architects.

All rights reserved.

Conceptual Urban Design of Old Wastewater Treatment Site

Urban revitalization is frequently driven by technological advancements, while individuals’ quest for a better living environment serves as an inherent impetus for the development of more sophisticated technologies. This urban design project seeks to create a sustainable solution that integrates commercial viability with public interests.

Location | Chengdu, China

Programme | Park, Community Center, Business Building, Retail Street

Client | Confidential

GFA | 290,000m2

Work Scope | Conceptual Urban Design

Current Status | Approved by Local Government for Implementation

Consultants | Southwest Municipal Design Institution, BW Landscape Chengdu

Within the context of this endeavour, this project encompassed an existing sewage treatment facility situated on the eastern side of the site, juxtaposed with an unoccupied triangular plot on the western periphery. Leveraging recent breakthroughs in wastewater treatment technology, the subterranean relocation of the sewage plant will become feasible on the western side, thereby facilitating the transformation of the aboveground space into an urban park and retail promenade.

Photo of existing site condition

Despite differing land use conditions, we adopt a holistic approach and treat the eastern and western plots as a unified entity in urban design. Our objective is to cultivate an inclusive social space that embodies openness, family-oriented scale, resilience to all weather conditions, and consistently vibrant. We seek to reintroduce social interaction into the public realm, resulting in an urban ecological complex that seamlessly blends architecture with nature, transcending traditional boundaries.

Responses to Site Conditions

Scale & Programme

This ecological complex embodies a holistic vision, where building volume and ecological green space assume equal importance. To achieve this equilibrium, our initial step involves a deliberate fragmentation, rearrangement, and purposeful blending of these elements, maximizing their coexistence. Our design incorporates the ecological system within the building, while also allocating certain functions to the surrounding green space. This intentional integration ensures a continuous and smooth spatial experience for individuals visiting the park and retail promenade.

Pedestrian connectivity is prioritized by implementing diagonally arranged grids, strengthening the site’s fabric of movement. On one side, the site warmly opens up to the community, embracing residents with a sense of welcome and inclusiveness. Meanwhile, the opposite side optimizes the captivating river edge landscape, guiding people to explore from the site’s core to the adjacent riverside. This intentional asymmetry creates a dynamic interplay between the built environment and nature, inviting visitors to engage with an urban sanctuary that integrates architecture with the surrounding ecosystem.

Design Concept Diagram

The buildings flanking the riverside gracefully trace the contours of the site, giving rise to vibrant activity spaces within the park. Connecting these structures are lush greenery and refreshing waterscapes, intertwining indoor and outdoor realms, facilitating a harmonious flow of activities.


Nestled amidst the building volumes, a fusion of leisure courtyards and commercial functions creates spaces that serve as both recreational havens and catalysts for community prosperity. 

Carefully selected materials extend the indoor environment into the courtyards, integrating them with the building interiors. We hope this will entice visitors to embrace the outdoors, and immerse themselves in the joys of nature.

We hope to draw inspiration from this project and seek to explore further possibilities in developing and leveraging underutilized urban spaces. With the advent of ever-evolving technological advancements, our objective is to effectively convert “negative assets” into valuable “positive assets” and repurpose “waste materials” into “valuable resources”.  Ultimately, our aim is to approach urban renewal in a manner that prioritizes quality of life and sustainability.

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