Haikou, China


The South Sea Pearl Eco-island will be a destination prototype for international, cruise-based eco-tourism along the revived maritime Silk Route. Although positioned globally, the island’s eco-design incorporates the local and the regional by referencing the culture of Hainan and Haikou, by addressing local demands for additional leisure and recreational landscapes, and by creating a transit nexus - cruise, ferry, and inter-island light rail - in the South China Sea.

The concept of the eco-island as prototype for eco-smart, biophilic living involves mitigating the effects of the high urban metabolism of Haikou, and accommodating global eco-tourism initiatives. The design of the island, conceived as part of a future three-island eco-archipelago and a resilient breakwater system for Hainan’s coast, plugs into existing tourism networks. However, rather than creating an extension of Haikou, the island will be a bridged outlet, extending the city’s limited shoreline, and offering a rejuvenating retreat from its urbanism.

The island’s principal organizing element is the Caldera - an iconic ridge that fuses architecture, landscape, and infrastructure. Traversing the island at its mid-line, this spine delineates a diverse set of conditions on the northern harbor side and the southern water side, the north dedicated to landscape and cultural activities, and the south dedicated to water-based experiential and recreational activities.