Diller Scofidio + Renfro wins competition to design China’s artificial Eco-Island

Diller Scofidio + Renfro
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New York City-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro just beat nine other firms in an international competition for the South Sea Pearl Eco-Island—a man-made tourism hub planned for China’s Haikou Bay.

Funded by Chinese developer HNA Group, the crescent-shaped island is envisioned as a tropical eco-tourism hub that will include housing, hotels, a theme park, yacht harbor, and even a cruise ship port with capacity for two large ships.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s (DS+R) winning design was selected by an international jury over proposals from the likes of Foster + Partners, Morphosis, and UNStudio. All ten proposals feature a crescent-shaped island design reminiscent of the yin-yang, a Chinese symbol that signifies harmony and balance. DS+R succeeded in fitting all the programmatic needs into a relatively compact footprint while creating a landscape that looked as natural as possible.

“The jury found the strength of the project was that it was singular and clear in realizing the Ecoisland as a whole,” wrote the jury. “It would create a beautiful, iconic form rising naturally out the landscape, recalling the volcanic caldera of the area, and shape the island into a continuous structure that would be an extremely efficient compaction of resort, retail, and housing. The project leaves the rest of the island as a place for aquaculture and agriculture, recreation, resort living and cultural facilities. This proposal is one for a truly a human-made island that celebrates all that makes such water-bound places so attractive and beautiful, while contributing to our understanding of deep, intrinsic ecology.”

Construction on the South Sea Pearl Eco-Island is slated to begin in 2017 and is expected to be complete by 2027. The development costs are estimated to be $1.25 billion.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro wins competition to design China’s artificial Eco-Island