Seahorse, a water park in Chongqing by 100architects


Amey Kandalgaonkar,

Chongqing, China,

Free Time, Sport & Wellness, Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, Landscape,


With Seahorse, the Shanghai-based firm, 100architects – founded by Marcial Jesús and Javier Gonzaléz – has completed a water park for the communal space of a new residential compound built in Chongqing. A fun opportunity for the tenants’ children to get together and interact with each other.

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Seahorse, a water park in Chongqing by 100architects Chongqing is a sprawling municipality at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in southwestern China. It is an independent administrative municipality under the direct control of the central government, with a population of more than 30 million, making it the largest city proper in the world.  At 82,403 square kilometres, the administrative municipality is spread over an area the size of Austria. The central urban area alone is home to 6.6 million people (Source: Wikipedia).
Clearly, in an urban context of this kind, an oasis of calm and peace and of harmonious interaction is essential for the psychological and physical wellbeing of people, children, in particular. One response to this need is the Seahorse project by the Shanghai-based firm, 100architects, founded by Marcial Jesús and Javier Gonzaléz: a water park for the communal space of a new residential compound built in the city. 
The compound’s public communal areas include a swimming pool zone for the residents, which is completed by this water playscape, intended to foster fun and social interaction amongst the resident children. 
In the past, 100architects completed a series of horse-themed playgrounds for the same client, who then commissioned the architecture studio to tackle this new play area, with the specific request to include water games. In order to bring together the horse-themed park and the water games, it was obvious to the architects that they needed to make the seahorse the focal point of this project.
So, the water park is arranged around a main sunken wet area in the shape of a seahorse. This shape is easily discernible by the users on the ground as well as by the surrounding residential towers. This sunken platform hosts most of the water features, standardised with the same colour palette, with water sprays directed towards the inside of that wet area. The areas surrounding this Sea Horse feature a contrasting colour palette, defining a classic, water-free playground. Chongqing is in a subtropical climate zone, so the winters are short and quite mild but this option makes the whole play area of the compound useable in the winter months as well.
These games are designed in a circular shape, reminiscent of the ripples that form when you throw a stone into water.
The resulting image of the park is a colourful, eye-catching playscape, which includes play features for kids as well as shaded seating for adults, visible from all the residential towers surrounding the central public space. With this project, the design team from 100architects have once again demonstrated the attention they put into the details, to create an inclusive area that fosters interaction amongst all the users to give a human-scale dimension even to these huge metropolises. 

Christiane Bürklein

Designer: 100 Architects - https://100architects.com/
Design team: Marcial Jesús, Javier González, Lara Broglio, Mónica Páez, Keith Gong
Client: Dongyuan Group  
Construction: Dongyuan Group
Location: Pingjiaqiao Road 36, Chongqing, China 
Built area: 440 mq
Completion: August 2019
Photographer: Amey Kandalgaonkar


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