Plans approved to repurpose a retired sugar factory in China into a Cultural Park

The new design will both acknowledge the city’s formerly robust sugar industry while offering a diverse range of modern amenities and spaces to accommodate different businesses and visitors.

The ten-year plan includes integrating new buildings while renovating others within the 79,000-square-meter (roughly 850,000 square feet) site. Woods Bagot’s strategy will retain and repurpose as many existing structures as possible to maintain the location’s heritage, and then introduce new buildings and landscapes that complement the industrial aesthetic. Designers carefully assessed over 40 existing structures for their heritage value, scale, and spatial quality. The former factory’s red brick chimney towers will act as a visual landmark at the highest point of the site. A boutique hotel, chocolate factory, wedding venue, start-up offices, and commercial and retail spaces will be among the new buildings and will rise only two to three stories to maintain a harmony between the original and recently developed buildings. The entire plan will be divided into three construction phases.

There will also be a sugar industry museum to honor the historical factory—a stalwart of Southern China’s sugar plantation industry—which began production in 1960 and was forced to close its doors in 2003 due to the changing local economy.

A central park will act as the core, while other landscape features, such as floral and sculpture gardens, will provide a link to the natural environment. Furthering this environmental aspect, sustainability will also be a key feature, including solar roofs, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling, and providing low-emissions transportation options such as bikes and water taxis.

The park will also feature murals, façade installations, and sculptures to commemorate its past.