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Z+T Studio: In 2015, when we were commissioned by Greentown for this project, Zhang and I were surprised by a park that is completely hung over the subway. A landscape that is three stories higher than the ground can be a modern Babylon in the sky. (Our experience manifested the truth that a project is always difficult enough to come to Z+T Studio. Projects that surprise people are often extremely challenging).
▼现场条件 The existing site conditions
The existing site conditions are not pleasing. The pre-designed drainage pipes on the roof create multi-directional sloped terraces where drainage ditches lie vertically and horizontally. There are more than a dozen ventilation shafts on the site, with an average height of 1.8 meters, concentrating on the top platform. The site has three levels of irregular terraces with a height difference of about 1.5 meters for each level (it is said that the terrace was built along with the subway. The foreign architects designed it as a terrace garden. Although the concept was not adopted, the structure was built and becomes a restriction for future design.)
The West Park also envisions an elementary school and a daycare center for the elder people to serve the future community. The entrance and exit of the elementary school flush with the ground to serve people flow from parking and drop-off. The boundary of its playground is separated from the parking garage of the community by a wall. Also, there is a 2-meter-high wall between the park and the community. Therefore, residents need access to the park.
▼屋面现状 Current situation of roof
▼屋面高差与屋顶结构 Height differences and Roof Structure
The number of future residents in the Yangliu County community will be approximately 4,600. West Park, as the only comprehensive green space within 30 minutes of walking, can provide residents with various outdoor activities such as exercises, walking, urban agriculture, baby strolling, picnics, and so on. Human needs for nature are the instinct of animals. There is an eternal cliché: Why do people need nature? What kind of nature is needed? People cannot live without nature. At first, the reasons are foods, then materials (wood and stone), and now resources. Once the first needs were met, the garden became picturesque and then developed into human beings’ spiritual need of artistic appreciation. In terms of natural ethics, what kind of human land leadership is the healthiest? Which has the priority or the leadership? It goes without saying that nature without the healthiest, but what is the meaning of this health?
The West Park is a site with an area of 73,100 square meters. The green space above the subway is essentially an artificial, self-circulating small ecosystem. Its skeleton (tectonic structure) involves a two-layer water system. One is the surface runoff above the overburden, and the second is the drainage under the overburden/roof (surface water infiltration). The two systems eventually merge and enter the urban pipeline network, and have no connection with the supplement and improvement of groundwater. It cannot be regarded as a perfect ecological treatment. However, the delay of surface runoff and biological purification will adjust the microclimate and relieve the pressure of extreme rainfall on the urban pipeline network, which is the guarantee of the “health” of West Park.
▼西公园排水系统 Drainage system of The West Park
The landscape scenarios take care of the “mental health”. Scenarios like the farm, water canal, wetland, and peach woods were from the preliminary design. The top platform is combined with fifteen ventilation shafts to form a viewing platform. Each extruded ventilation shaft can become a rest island for migratory birds. The entrance, which meets the crossroads, is piled up to the observatory through a zigzag ramp where is a peach/cherry blossom forest. The maximum height difference between the first platform and the second is treated as a place for children’s activities. School periphery is designed with lawns and wetlands which can serve as an outdoor classroom for education. sports courts for basketball, tennis, and badminton are located between the farm and the school. The farm is located at the narrowest and farthest end of the site, and its boundary is part of the wetland system.
The major issues are as follows:
1、屋面排水 Roof drainage
2、消化高差 Height differences
3、边界处理 Boundary treatment
1. Design vocabulary
The design of the road system received comments such as ”insane” from the leaders. The linear park paths and the non-S-shaped planting layout are not easy to accept. The experts are very serious about the ecosystem. In terms of practical usage, the design is still questioned under a traditional garden design discipline.
2. Maintenance and management
The park was built by Greentown and finally returned to the district government for management. People’s activities and usages take second place because of management methods and costs. For example, because shrub has the lowest management cost, it is preferred by the client to cover places other than hardscape and activity sites so that people cannot access them. Activity spaces (basketball court, tennis court) were canceled due to management concerns (Should people be charged for sports courts? How to charge and who will take the responsibility of management?) After all, the park is a social product, and the final realization is in line with the social operation system. Breaking through and surpassing the system cannot be fulfilled in one night.
In the end, this eye-catching project has nothing to catch people’s eyes – no peculiar structures, no craftsmanship-challenging chairs, and even no usual “spiritual fortress” of commercial development. But fortunately, Z+T studio invested a long time and involved two teams to study every corner of the site. They worked hard with the Greentown team, and finally ensured that the park was completed under a low budget. (In fact, the cost of the infrastructure such as waterproofing and soil covering of a park atop the subway is already huge). For various reasons, we did not participate in the design development and production of the children’s playground. But the lush planting has already told us their satisfaction with their living environment. if we have the opportunity to visit again, we hope to see the usage of more residents to understand deeper about people’s needs for urban parks.
Project Name: Metro Greentown·Yangliu County West Park Project
Client: Hangzhou Dongsheng Real Estate Co., Ltd.
Landscape design: Shanghai Z+T Landscape Design Co., Ltd.
Design team: Zhang Dong, Tang Ziying, Xu Min, Zhou Xiao, Yao Yu, Zhang Meifang, Du Qiang, Cai Sunxi, Yuan Shuai, Chen Yifan, Niu Yuxuan, Peng Yang, Zhang Qing, Wang Qi
Completion time: May 2018
Photography: Zhang Hai
Address: Yangliu County, Jianggan District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province
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