Jinhua Architecture Park became a Wasteland
The Jinhua Architecture Park in Zhejiang Province opened to the public in 2007. Yet today, lack of maintenance in its public spaces and buildings gives the impression the site is now abandoned.
The park, 2,200 meters long and 80 square meters in area, is on the banks of the Yiwu river. Within the park there are approximately 17 small public buildings, as well as several modern pavilions designed by renowned architects or artists from seven countries, including Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (who did their first project in Jinhua, China), the architect Wang Shu (2012 Pritzker Prize winner), and notorious artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The project, originally initiated and led by Ai Weiwei, son of the late poet Ai Qing who was a native of Jinhua, required an initial investment of 300 million yuan.
Five years after its opening, the park has already fallen into disuse. “No one appreciates it, nobody is even interested in it” remarked a journalist on Zhejiang Online. The only building still in use is the infamous “Ceramic House”, the teahouse designed by Wang Shu, but even that structure has recently been transformed into the sales office of a real estate company and is now flanked by a new extension. Various articles report that most of the buildings are abandoned with broken windows, smashed flooring, and water damage among other problems.
According to the testimonies collected by local journalists, the main cause of this abandonment is the lack of a surrounding town. One interviewee explains, “The construction of this park was originally to serve the people. Many homes are still under construction in this new area, but for now, very few people live here. If this park had been built later, it would have worked much better”
The artistic value of the park as well as its high initial investment has forced the local government to account for its current dismal state. As such, a study to rehabilitate the park began in 2011, but results have yet to be released.