An interview with Summit Park’s consultant: Phua Chin Eng

What is the ideation behind Summit Park?

The landscape design is an enhancement of the surrounding nature. With a meandering river crossing the mountainous area in the background and the site’s prime location, there was a lot to capitalise on, so we started there, and modified the existing site into what Summit Park is now. The aim was to create an urban forest park, so landscape treatment was introduced as a principal planting design to facilitate the growth of trees and greenery. Safety, comfort, accessibility and nature are the key design elements.

How long did it take to select the plants?

The top layer of good soil was removed when the palm trees were cleared up. We then transferred new good soil and spent almost nine months of experimentation on different species. In the next five years, Summit Park will be a home for birds and other local wildlife. The berry trees and flowers will attract insects as well. When all the plants are fully grown, the optimal thermal comfort of the park and the surrounding area will be achieved.

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Phua Chin Eng is the founder and principal at Landart Design. Before settling down in Penang to start his own business in 1998, Phua had spent the earlier stages of his career practising landscape architecture in Singapore. He is an avid guest speaker in webinars and workshops, and was involved in the judging for the Malaysian Landscape Architecture Awards (MLAA) competitions. Among the accolades his team received was the Award of Excellence in Analysis and Master Planning at the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) AAPME Awards. Phua believes that designers should be ‘the composer of space’ as they shape and create outdoor environments into long-lasting and ever-evolving works of art with contemporary values and styles. He said, “Landscape is not just for beautiful viewing purposes, but it is also an integral part of a community’s social life, just like Summit Park where residents do their outdoor activities together.”