The project covered an area of 2.84 hectares in the Emperor Monument Garden in Jiedi Hui Village, Cang County, in which the Southern Canal and Jian River meet. Jian River, a main diversion channel of the Southern Canal and its only tributary that joins the Bohai Sea, still plays its part in flood control and irrigation. Inspired by the design of northern traditional gardens in Ming and Qing Dynasty, the project incorporated the water conservancy culture into tourist routes, improving the facilities in the garden and expanding leisure space toward the waterfront.
The project improved the garden in an all-round and systematic way, forming a layout of “one core, one axe and five zones”. One core refers to the main square and attractions built around the core historical event of The Qianlong Emperor placing a high value on Jian River water conservancy. One axe refers to the major tourist route, which links all themes in the garden. Five zones are functional zones based on the site, historical traces, spatial demand, and sluice functions.
The Touring Square—“Human effort is the decisive factor”, the key idea of the Qianlong Emperor Monument Garden, is the theme of the scene by entrance. The Touring Square is composed of screen walls and the Touring Hall with the former presenting Jian River water conservancy by reliefs and the latter exhibiting video clips of Files of National Treasures about the Qianlong Emperor Monument. The painted corridor of which design was based on elevation difference, shows the prosperous Grand Canal.
The Garden of Jian River History and Culture—In the Qianlong Emperor Monument Garden, we renovated buildings built in Ming and Qing Dynasty, integrated green space and created a classic garden where various sceneries are to be explored. A viewing corridor has been built in the Declaration Monument Garden to overlook the river. New vegetation has been planted to create an atmosphere of “Old willows and new greenery are both here.”
Cultural Canal Corridor—We used the landscape to demonstrate the calligraphy and stone carving culture in Cang County. The green field is divided into square blocks like those for handwriting practice. In the stone carving garden, there are stone tables with local calligraphy on pavement made of square bricks and varied plants and flowers, showing the new-era calligraphy. People can practice calligraphy on the ground in the calligraphy square. The poem inscription and ground-calligraphy activities in the garden also teach children about the culture interactively.
The flood diversion facilities in the area are an important fulcrum of “the Grand Canal joining the Bohai Sea” and tentatively listed as World Cultural Heritage as a part of The Grand Canal. It is of profound cultural significance. The new Emperor Monument Garden will become an important part of the Grand Canal national parks and a core tourist attraction of Grand Canal Cultural Belt in Cangzhou City.