Reciprocity Case Studies

Case Study One

Gas Works Park – Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. – Richard Haag Associates (1970)

“The plan is purposely under-designed; it represents a strong skeleton which can evolve in rhythm and rhyme with the new directions in life and play-styles.” The last phase of Park construction was completed in 1978. For the past twenty years the natural processes have been at work neutralizing the soil. To implement this vision, Haag faced two major challenges. First, he had to convince the city government that the structures should be preserved. Secondly, he had to find a way to detoxify the soil, which remained contaminated with hydrocarbons from the old industrial process. Haag developed a bioremediation method for detoxifying the soil on-site rather than carting it away for treatment. By adding oil-degrading enzymes to the soil, as well as organic materials to fertilize the growth of soil microorganisms, Haag and colleagues stimulated the natural breakdown of toxic contaminants in the topsoil.” (

Gas Works Park - Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park – Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park - Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park – Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park - Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park – Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park - Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park – Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park - Richard Haag Associates

Gas Works Park – Richard Haag Associates

Case Study Two

Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park – Duisburg, Germany – Latz + Partner (2002)

 The Blast Furnace

“The Piazza Metallica is the symbol of this park, a metamorphosis of the existing hard and rugged industrial structure into a public park.
Iron plates that were once used to cover casting moulds in the pig-iron casting works, form today the heart of the park. From the first moments of their existence, these cast iron plates have been eroded by natural physical processes. In this new place, they will continue to rust and erode.”(Landzine 2011)


“The open waste water canal of the ”Old Emscher”, crossing the park from east to west, was transformed into a clear water canal with bridges and footpaths, exclusively fed by the clear rainwater.
The water channel and the whole water system are an artefact, which aims to restore natural processes in an environment of devastation and distortion. These processes are governed by the rules of ecology, but initiated and maintained by means of technology. Man uses this artefact as a symbol for nature, but remains in charge of the process.
The system is at one and the same time entirely natural and entirely artificial.” (Landzine 2011)

Sinter Park

“The place of the former sintering plant was heavily contaminated and had to be almost completely demolished. Today it is a flourishing meadow and a shady grove, a huge festival place, framed to the side of the blast furnace plant by the remainders of the former overhead railway and a high level walk. With a length of 300 metres it leads across the bunkers and gives views down into the gardens built at various heights and depths within the bunker site.
Once filled with ore, coal, lime and ashes, the walls now enclose old pollutants in sealed containers, excavated materials, water or gardens- horti conclusi of great variety and abundance. They are places of retreat and contemplation that are so important in a large public park.” (Landzine 2011)

Railway Park

“The railway lines, still open or out of operation, are the most continuous connections also in the park. They form a filigree pattern, going deep into the living and working areas of the city quarters.
Reaching a height of up to twelve metres, the berms of the railway park offer views, which were never possible before. The vegetation immigrated with the ore from distant countries, covers distinct areas between the ribbon–like structures with differentiated forms and colours.” (Landzine 2011)


“The whole park is a big adventure playground. Old industrial structures are transformed by adaptation and new interpretation: Fantasy allows to use them in new ways, to deal with them and to play with them.” (Landzine 2011)

Ore Bunker Gallery

“In cooperation with artists and the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg we developed the large bunker gallery. Through openings in the massive walls, paths and footbridges connect the labyrinthine complex. They will lead to artificial gardens with differentiated microclimates, with sound effects and various artistic interventions.” (Landzine 2011)

Case Study Three

Zhongshan Shipyard Park – Zhongshan, China – Turenscape (2001)

This is the first park in China to be built with a post industrial theme. Built on the site of an abandoned shipyard,  it reflects a remarkable fifty-year history of socialist China (including the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s) and echoes the experiences of common people during this time. The design addressed several challenges of the site including: accommodating variable water levels, balancing regulations for flood control & protecting existing riverbank trees, and retaining remnants of the shipyard docks and machinery.

“In comparison with Richard Hagg’s Gas Works Park in the USA and Peter Latz’s Landscape Park at Duisburg-Nord in Germany, the following aspects of this project make it unique and unusual:
1.Its unique history: “ A small site with big stories”
The shipyard was originally built in the 1950s and went bankrupt in 1999. Though small in scale, it reflects the remarkable 50 year history of socialist China, including the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s . It is therefore a space to remember and tell stories to those who did not experience this period of history.
2.A challenging setting: Water level fluctuations, tree preservation and design with machines
The site inventory of this small former shipyard in South China included an existing lake of fluctuating water levels, existing trees and vegetation, and the wreckages of docks, cranes, rails, water towers and other machinery. These factors challenged the design in three ways:
(1)Challenge 1: fluctuating water levels:. With the existing lake connected through the Qijiang River to the sea, water levels fluctuate up to 1.1 meters daily. To meet this challenge, a network of bridges were constructed at various elevations and integrated with terraced planting beds so that native weeds from the salt march can be grown and visitors can feel the breath of the ocean.
(2)Challenge 2: Balance river width regulations for flood control while protecting old ficus trees along the riverbank. Regulations of the Water Management Bureau required the river corridor at the east side of the site to be expanded from 60 meters to 80 meters to manage water flow. This meant that a series old banyan trees were to be cut down in order to widen the river channel. Our approach was to dig a parallel ditch of 20 meters width on the other side of the trees, leaving them intact as an island of preservation.
(3)Challenge 3: Remnant rust docks and machinery – nothing as gigantic or unusual as a gas works or steel factory. These elements, if left intact because of a pure preservation or ecological restoration ethic, might actually be a distraction or nuisance for local residents. Three approaches are taken to artistically and ecologically dramatize the spirit of the site using these elements: preservation, modification of old forms and creation of new forms. New forms include a network of straight paths, a red box and a green box that dramatize the character of the site in an artistic way.” (

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