The new university campus of Suzhou, located on Sangtian Island, will house the science and liberal arts university. The concept for the campus is a compact high density built area in the middle, surrounded by a green park-like setting. The design of the path structure throughout the island is based the form of a microchip with its straight lines and curved corners.
The park has a dense tree structure in the north and an open tree structure in the south, accentuated by the choice of tree species based on the four seasons: evergreens and spring trees planted in the north and summer and autumn trees planted in the south. Rows of Platanus trees can be found throughout the park. Ornamental grasses form the basis of planting underneath the trees. The extra soil from the digging of the canals is used to build hills on the north of the island to buffer visitors from the cold northern winds.
The two main paths follow the ring shape of the island: one circles the centre campus area and the other circles the outside of the island near the water’s edge. Between the paths is a canal for rowing, complete with a competition rowing lane on the south side and an adjacent sports cluster for ballgames and miniture golf. A swimming pool and multiple piers are located along the northern banks of the island to extend the recreational links to the river.
The green spaces, paths and waterways are used to link the landscape with the built-up area of the university campus in the center of the island. The urban plan of the campus itself is set up as a series of urban blocks with gardens and courtyards inside. These public spaces are car-free and parking is located either underneath the buildings or around the first ring of campus containing public uses such as musea, tea houses and restaurants.
The twelve gardens, spread throughout the landscape, have been designed based on European garden styles in an effort to attract European universities to the campus. The Fountain Garden is inspired by the Alhambra in Spain, the Blue Garden is inspired by the lavender fields of France and the Orangery is inspired by Versailles. The art path throughout the park crosses over a number of bridges inspired by European artists such as Monet, van Gogh and Mondriaan. All the other bridges are designed in one simple style.