Thanks FISH for authorizing the publication of the project on mooool, Text description provided by FISH .
FISH :Tracing back to ten months ago, we received a special design task: to open Zhongshan Park to the public. Beginning with the moment we walk onto the site, we are going to review the entire design process through a series of questions.
What is the first impression?
It was a sunny afternoon when we first came to Zhongshan Park for fieldwork. The site that needs to be designed is situated on the park’s northern side. Along Wanhangdu Road, there towers a 150-year-old ancient phoenix tree, accompanied by the British-style Gate 2 and an elegant copper pavilion, which has a long history. They all constitute the unique features of this century-old park. Numerous trees endowed the site with superior natural conditions, but also brought great challenges to the opening and renewal of this park: The space of Gate 2 and Gate 3 was closed, and the entrances lacked identity; the traffic along Wanhangdu Road was mixed with vehicles and non-vehicles; the sidewalks were narrow; a great number of in-situ trees conflicted with the new design demands.
▽改造前场地原状 Site condition before transformation
What are the design strategies?
Our design philosophy is based on the idea that every tree and every inch of the site’s original historical texture should be respected. The specific transformation strategies are as follows:
1. Remove all the enclosing walls of Wanhangdu Road to release the landscape space originally hidden inside, which simultaneously opens the view of the site and avoids obstructing the vision. This strategy would integrate Zhongshan Park with the whole block so that citizens can better enjoy the comfort and calmness of the park city.
2. Preserve every large in-situ tree to the greatest extent possible; remove the relatively closed middle layer of plants; remove some trees that are degraded and are not growing well; give special treatment to some giant trees and priceless protected tree species; and introduce new varieties that are appropriate for the tone of the design. (primarily shrubs in the lower layer).
3. Rearrange the spatial layout of Gate 2 and Gate 3 as important entrances, and fabricate the landscape nodes around the ancient Chinese parasol tree and British-style buildings. While retaining the sense of history and identity of the site, we introduced new landscape clues to enable the harmonious dialogue between old and new landscape elements.
How to unveil the features of the hidden century-old phoenix tree?
▽三号门改造前后示意图 Axonometric drawing of Gate 3 before and after transformation
There is a century-old phoenix tree at Gate 3. Unfortunately, it was hidden by tall walls and buildings for many years. With the removal of the walls and the relocation of the surrounding management buildings, the ancient tree finally reveals its true face.
▽百年梧桐前身 The original site around the century-old phoenix tree
When considering the design, we also found that it is not unreasonable for the ancients to name it “Dumuaoshuang”, as it seems that anything around it is superfluous. It’s shocking, lonely, and even artistic. We purely use a 60cm high railing to demarcate a protected area for this giant tree, which makes it like an artwork that has been standing for so long, and it is the moment for him to start a new round of exhibition.
Before the transformation, Gate 3 was merely an inlet, which may even be ignored when passing by. We hope to turn this entrance into a landmark plaza after the walls are taken down, making it easier for people to enter the park. A more exploratory and interesting curve line has replaced the site’s previously boring linear circulation. Regardless of which direction the crowd is flowing, they would be organically integrated into the park.
▽入口标志性广场 landmark square at the entrance
Interestingly, by preserving the historical trace, we still aimed to keep the traditional style and memory in the application of design elements. Meanwhile, the old tile decoration on an existing scenic pergola in the park caught our attention. We asked the construction team to find various similar lattice-style tiles and apply them to the pavement and landscape walls. The presented effect adds a touch of retro and novelty to the site under the action of light and shadow.
▽光影下的花砖铺装 Tile paving under the light and shadow
How to shape the new landmark of the park entrance?
The spatial attributes on the west side of the square were relatively messy. Here, a certain extent of physical isolation was required to ensure the experience of Wutong Square as the main entrance. Based on this, an L-shaped structure naturally broke into our minds.
▽三号门廊架轴测图 Axonometric drawing of pergola frame at Gate 3
The design of the scenic pergola shows geometric beauty through simple arcs. The pergola was created in a minimalist style, combined with a transparent and orderly triangular grille. It is worth mentioning that, as if it were destined, the position of the pergola frame and the ancient phoenix tree shows a perfect eye-to-eye relationship. Sitting in the frame, people can quietly appreciate the new life of this ancient tree and hear the stories from a hundred years ago, told by him.
▽休闲廊架 Casual corridor
The transparent triangular grid structure interweaves the environment inside and outside the pergola, which is an expanded pocket space where both internal users and external viewers are able to get a sense of participation. Internally, the succinct seat makes people stay; externally, the soft arc-shaped language leaves people with the first impression of geniality. Additionally, the abstract goose-yellow logo on the frame creates a somewhat dramatic external visual effect.
▽廊架框景 Frame for view of the pergola
The raised terrace enhanced the sense of place while solving the problem of the vertical difference of the site. This interesting sight line relationship between inside and outside enriches the spatial hierarchy. We chose a cool tone for the color of the pergola frame, which is similar to the original color of the steel plate. The whole pergola presents an atmosphere of long-lasting and heavy, not only integrated with the surrounding environment and pavement but also evoking the profound historical accumulation of Zhongshan Park.
▽抬高的地景平台 A raised landscape
Has the wish of letting people walk in the shade of the century-old tree come true?
The north side of the park was originally enclosed by walls and stagnant plants. After the wall was opened, we moved the sidewalk to the interior of the park. By removing the middle-level plants and laying new stone pavement, we created a unique landscape for slow-moving that belongs to the centennial park section.
▽改造前的步道 The path before transformation
▽改造后的步道 The poetic and smooth curvilinear path after transformation
The practical landing process was more like letting nature work: after carefully investigating the location of the large trees on the site, the direction of the growth of the trees, and the dislocation relationship between them, a curved line that avoids all the roots of all the trees appeared. After repeated and numerous revisions to the site and drawings, we finally present the poetic and smooth trail line.
▽反复修改放样的步道线型 The lofted trail line was repeatedly modified
Concerning the ground of the boulevard, after repeated research and consideration, we decided to use the granite square bricks jointed with multiple colors as the pavement at the end. We also used white cement to stitch the gaps of joints to make the footpath look more retro and fashionable. Besides, to enhance the undulating spatial characteristics of the path, we erected meandering and continuous low railings on both sides of the trail, and when the night screen begins to hang down, two soft light strips pass through the forest, forming a fascinating sight.
▽林荫步道夜景氛围 The atmosphere of the boulevard at night
How can the public toilet be transformed into more cosmetic?
The public toilet along the footpath was old-fashioned and the internal facilities were aging, which was one of our key points for this transformation. By the way of “dressing in clothes and wearing a hat,” a fresh layer of skin is wrapped around the exterior of the original structure. The weathered steel grating serves as the primary material, forming a dense and continuous rhythm that gives the structure a strong and distinctive texture when light and shadow are introduced. The vertical grille is at a right angle to the direction of people’s sight line, which makes the appearance of the building present continuous changes during the walking process, bringing more diversified visual feelings to the viewers.
▽改造前的公共厕所 The public toilet before transformation
▽改造后的公共设施 Public facility after transformation
How does the centennial park connect with the centennial school gate?
▽场地景观动图 A GIF of the site landscape
The first challenge we faced in the transformation of Gate 2 was how to form a link between the site and the East China University of Political Science and Law opposite, and how to make it a stage for young people to show themselves, which would inject new vitality into this centennial park. We thought of “seeds”—a garden of seeds that sprouted from an ancient English-style park.
▽种子花园前身 The original site of garden of seeds
▽种子花园 Seed garden
▽种子花园夜景 The garden of seeds at night
By simulating the form of seeds, we created two contrasting characteristic gardens, further enclosing a square space. The entire terrain of a garden is uplifted, and when encountering the existing large trees, it concaves to form tree pools. Patches of ornamental grass are planted to form the clean and pure undulating landscape in these depressions. The other garden is level. Surrounded by undulating low walls, multiple characteristic planting pools are formed, each with a different theme of the flower border, forming a rich and interesting secret garden.
▽种子花园里的人们 People in the garden of seeds
How does the bus stop integrate with the park?
Outside the wall of Gate 2 is the starting station of the No. 20 bus trolley, and after the wall was opened, another challenge we faced is how to perfectly integrate the bus station with the open square. After an in-depth study of British public transport facilities and buildings, we decided to design a unique waiting space for the No. 20 bus trolley.
▽公交站台原貌 The original site of the bus stop
▽改造后的公交站台 Bus stop facilities after transformation
Through the combination of continuous arches and columns, a waiting booth formed to shelter people from the wind and rain. This structural form ensures that the beams and columns can be removed in the middle of the span of the corridor, providing ample space for leisure and waiting under the topping.
▽候车亭轴测图 The axonometric drawing of the waiting booth
▽候车亭The waiting booth shelter
▽候车亭夜景 The waiting booth at night
The coal-essence pavilion is a special attached facility to the cable tram, and the staff needs to climb the pavilion to change the wire lubrication material regularly. We penetrated and superimposed the arcades to form an English-style tower, making it a unique cultural landscape for century-old public transit while meeting the functions of daily use.
▽煤精亭轴测图 The axonometric drawing of the coal-essence pavilion
▽煤精亭The coal-essence pavilion
城市公园如何应对新时代的城市更新？How does City Park respond to urban renewal in the new era?
According to statistics, there are 267 Zhongshan parks in China. These parks are always synonymous with “old parks,” and they are also the landmarks of every city, while they often become places that young people rarely visit when they grow up because of the outdated appearance and lack of identity of these parks. At the same time, these parks are “parks at the doorstep” of many people. However, because of the closed trees, outdated facilities, and lack of public space, these parks cannot well assume their service functions as urban parks.
As a century-old and English-style park, we believe that the opening of Zhongshan Park in Shanghai is the opening of thoughts and the renewal of aesthetic awareness. In the design process, the practices of whitewashing and painting classical architecture, piling up colorful western flowers, and placing giant font signs were rejected. We refined the essence of the English park and renewed the appearance of Zhongshan park in a simple and restrained way. At important nodes, retro details such as tiling and vaults are used to enhance the uniqueness of the space and create an attractive spatial intention. At the same time, the opening of the park is not simply pushing over the walls and blindly creating functional space and facilities inside. Guided by the spatial characteristics of the site itself, we provide a variety of possibilities for the activities of users by leaving blanks in the space, so that the park can truly integrate into the city and become a stage for the public to show themselves.
The completion of this project includes the efforts and cooperation of multiple parties, and we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Changning District People’s Government, the Changning District Greening and City Appearance Bureau, the Changning District Construction and Transportation Committee, and the Changning Park Greening Construction and Development Co., Ltd. Seeing the residents enjoying the new space of the park in a happy and relaxed way, our senses of responsibility and pride as landscape architects emerge naturally.
The opening and renewal of Zhongshan Park are still ongoing, so stay tuned.
▽一些过程的记录 Records of some processes
方案设计：潘山 潘晶 杨玉鹏 白瑞嘉 陈零零 张太崇
施工图设计：夏陈成 李青 陈艳芳 王彬 张丹妮 胡美容 傅蓉蓉 袁荣爵
现场督导：潘山 潘晶 杨玉鹏 夏陈成
Project Name: Shanghai Zhongshan Park Wanhangdu section comprehensive improvement
Project Location: Changning District, Shanghai
Scheme Design: Shan Pan, Jing Pan, Yupeng Yang, Ruijia Bai, Lingling Chen, Taichong Zhang
Planning and Research: Jieqiong Wang, Min Wang, Jiaqi Wang, Xiang Song, Wenjue Pan
Construction Drawing Design: Chencheng Xia, Qing Li, Yanfang Chen. Bin Wang, Danni Zhang, Rongrong Fu, Rongjue Yuan
Site Supervisor: Shan Pan, Jing Pan, Yupeng Yang, Chencheng Xia
Public Toilet Transformation: Wei Cai, Tianpei Hu
Landscape Area: 16,000㎡
Design Time: November 2021
Completion Time: September 2022
Photography: Shan Pan
Author: Yupeng Yang, Ruijia Bai
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