Graduate Students Design 2008 Olympic Forest Park

AMHERST, Mass. – Two University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate students have won an international competition with a design for the Olympic Forest Park of the 2008 Summer Olympics to be held in Beijing, China.

Ziying Tang and Dong Zhang, from the department of landscape architecture and regional planning, have created a design that integrates an ecological water system within a traditional contemplative Chinese garden. The design demonstrates how the ancient city of Beijing can preserve its historical traditions while addressing environmental challenges through modern landscape design. The students chose the site because of the serious groundwater issues facing the city. Their solution includes innovative techniques for improving water quality through biofiltration, infiltration and aeration.

The competition was organized by the International Federation of Landscape Architects and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Institution (IFLA-UNESCO.) Entries responded to a theme of “Harmony and Integration in Landscape and Architecture.” Tang and Zhang were presented with a $3,500 award in October at the annual meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Also in the fall of 2004, Tang and Zhang won the National Low Impact Development Design Competition, organized by the University of Maryland. That competition challenges students to select a section of their campus and create a theoretical re-design using low-impact development strategies that reduce the impact of the built environment on surface and groundwater resources.

Tang and Zhang chose the east side of the UMass Amherst campus around the Fine Arts Center, the Isenberg School of Management and the Whitmore Administration building. Their design employed new gardens and infiltration areas to maximize infiltration of ground water and reduce sedimentation and erosion resulting from major rainfalls.

The department of landscape architecture and regional planning has mounted a display of Tang and Zhang''s designs in the lobby of Hills North, which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.