Diller Scofidio + Renfro has narrowly beaten Foster + Partners and Morphosis in a competition to masterplan an eco-island in the South China Sea. Other big names shortlisted for the contest included South Korean architecture practice IROJE and Dutch firm UNStudio. The artificial island is located about two kilometres northwest of HNA Beach and Spa Resort off the west coast of Haikou. A planned investment of around RMB 8.4 billion ($1.26 billion USD) has been allocated to build a cruise port and a yacht harbour, among a wide range of other amenities.
The final jury review for the competition was hosted by Haikou Municipal People’s Government, organised by HNA Infrastructure, and coordinated by HNA design and the China Building Centre. Vicente Guallart, former Chief Architect of Barcelona, served the project’s chief consultant — a role which included developing the competition’s brief and strategic plan, and selecting both the architects and jury members.
New York-based studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro was awarded first place in the competition, with the jury praising the proposal for its ‘singular and clear’ design (images 1&2). ‘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 jury said in a statement. The design leaves the remainder of the island as a place for cultural facilities, which include aquaculture, agriculture, and recreation.
The second prize was awarded to Foster + Partners, with the jury particularly impressed with the firm’s idea of a centrally positioned park, a major factor in attracting visitors (images 3&4). Innovative technologies were also proposed, allowing for intense agriculture and an efficient use of resources. The jury enjoyed the combination of learning, recreation, and living programs that the architects developed. The third prize was awarded to Morphosis, who shaped the island to create an undulating park (image 5). Meanwhile, housing is placed along the island’s edges. See images of each of the proposals below.