HRA Begins Designing Theme Park Buildings in China

Welland Theme Park - Exterior Perspective

Illustration by Guanghao at Patrick T.Y. Chan Architect

HRA is designing the buildings for a large master planned site in Chengdu, China – which includes two theme parks, their related hotels and entertainment and shopping destinations. The scale of this project requires imagining the site at a city scale, working on the infrastructure as the prime determinant for the organization of the sites various programs.  In the mid 90’s, Howard was employed by Patrick Chan Architect and was the chief designer for a Chinese Theme Park located in Welland, Ontario; a city within a stone’s throw from numerous attractions around Niagara Falls. The master plan for this project informs many of the decisions that Howard and the team at HRA is using to design this new proposal.  The park in Welland was organized around a strong central axis that structured the entire site. At the park’s entry, a ¼-scale version of the Forbidden City in Beijing, clearly dominates the parking areas in front, calling Tiananmen Square.  Guests are immersed within the park experience from their initial arrival at the site. The informality of the site’s interior themed areas was organized around the five dynasties of the Chinese history. The six hotels, located around the theme park were themed slightly to ensure that views out of the themed areas would enhance the thematic experience of that area. The placement of one resort hotel, directly on the Welland River capitalized on the waterfront setting by including a marina and river walk promenade.

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