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Atelier Scale：As the first built transit-oriented development (TOD) project by Atelier Scale, the Eye of Chongqing provides us with an opportunity to delve deeply into the role TOD could play for a city and the kind of creative landscape strategies that can be adopted in response.
▽榉树林间的时光广场 A time square among beech trees
▽重庆西站，火车站旁的商务公园 The business park by Chongqingxi Railway Station
Chongqingxi Railway Station, the largest high-speed railway station in southwest China, is an intersection where four high-speed railways stretch from Chongqing to China’s western cities. Its outstanding strategic location for transportation are bound to offer sound opportunities of regional development. In spite of its commission in 2019, Chongqingxi Railway Station has not yet fleshed out its complex properties as an urban TOD. Its public place has a circulation system with rapid guidance for traffic. However, its dilemma is similar to majority of its peers in China: it is an urban image comprising a super-large evacuation square without tree shadows to avoid sunstroke and without sufficient distinct local characters. Without unique image, the high-speed railway hub’s dynamism will go unnoticed in the surrounding urban areas.
▽重庆西站与西南铁路线联系 Chongqing West station is connected with southwest railway line
▽重庆西站广场设计前现状 Present situation of chongqing West Railway Station Plaza before design
We would like to not only preserve the important features of Chongqingxi Railway Station as an urban transit hub, but also reflect on prevalent issues challenging domestic transit hubs. Taking the landscape as an organizer of public space, we plan to seek an approach to provide travelers, office employees, and surrounding residents with a public landscape system of harmonious coexistence, so as to unleash the potential of TOD to maximize its support for urban dynamism.
▽国内多数高铁站窘境 Most of China’s high-speed rail stations are in dire straits
2、时光绽放 Unfolding the Time
Eye of Chongqing, a TOD project, takes the front plaza of Chongqingxi Railway Station as the core and unfolds at the north and south flanks, creating a complete system for urban life and unlocking its utmost potential by combining office buildings, commercial centers, apartments, hotels, and parks into an urban form. With Zhongliang Mountain at its back, the Station welcomes and sees off travelers with highly efficient transit services; it will attract more people from surrounding cities to reside here when its formats are enriched by hotels, office buildings, apartments, and commercial centers. We believe that travelers in need of highly efficient transit services and residents wanting leisure in life expect the public place to be “accessible with high efficiency” but “slow to savor the taste of life” at the same time. The sense of different time speeds is where the landscape design comes from. We hope to take time as one dimension to try to break the generally accepted pattern of “getting faster” for high-speed railway stations in China and to create a hub for time to unfold by “combining fast and slow speeds” together.
▽全区业态布局 Business layout of the whole district
时光生律——清晰律动的动线设计 Melodic Time: Dynamic Design with Distinct Rhythms
The hidden dynamics will be clarified and enhanced, while missing slow movement will be brought in and integrated into this highly efficient transit hub. When visitors enter the venue, they would experience moving along with changes in speed of dynamism.
▽全区快慢动线分布 Distribution of fast and slow moving lines in the whole district
Located at the center, the front plaza that has service entrances into subway, bus stations, high-speed railway, and underground parking lot plays an important role in dispersing passengers. Taking the front plaza as the center, we have a vitalized strategy of sandwiching a fast movement lane with two slow-movement lines to create a clearer circulation. An urban corridor of 120m is reserved at both the eastern and western sides of the front plaza according to anti-terrorism requirements of the municipal government for travelers to rapidly walk to the station entrance; visitors can quickly reach commercial and office buildings in the north and south on foot through the 20m-wide commercial corridor based on the requirements of the municipal government. The rest of the secondary axis connecting the urban corridor and commercial corridor will have its guidance enhanced in the form of green islands so that the traffic to entrances and from exits will be oriented to the Station or commercial centers in the south and north. Plants on both sides of the axis shall be placed either individually or in line so as to better concentrate travelers’ vision and regulate the movement accordingly. The intersection at the south-north block and front plaza will also be a buffer zone to divide traffic in the form of small squares so that travelers can walk into the slow-movement area to the south and north.
▽花瓣绿岛强化动线引导 Petal green island enhanced moving line guidance
▽开花乔木加强视线引导 Flowering trees enhance eye guidance
The north-south block integrates offices, commercial centers, hotels, and apartments; the 20m-wide commercial corridor connects the front plaza and the main path through which travelers enter the site from underground. In addition, we plan to set paths of different widths of 7m, 5m, or 3m to slow down travelers’ footsteps, so that they can find their own way of life. The metrical and straight paving lines are oriental guidance whose sectors in different shades of color imply either rapid paths or places for leisure and resting. Arbors on both sides are comfortable and exquisite, creating an immersive pedestrian experience through the surrounding autumn leaves, cherry trees, and shaded corridors.
▽商业通廊入口广场 Commercial Corridor entrance Plaza
时光生悦——轻松愉悦的生活场景 Pleasant Time: Lively Scenario of a Pleasant Life
As offices, apartments, hotels, and commercial centers among various formats are to be stationed, the transit hub will be diversified from its originally planned function and become a complex of urban TOD. Its landscape will be created to fit in daily life with the help of building layout and formats, creating a pleasant and lively waiting space for travelers, an interactive and animated commercial experience, an exquisite and comfortable working environment, and a unique stay in apartment (hotel) for visitors in a slow movement.
▽全区功能场景分布 Function scenario distribution in the whole region
The north and south flanks spread out from the front plaza at the center to create “fast” and “slow” scenarios. In the landscape, there are benches shaped in sculptures and leisure pockets set in combination with green islands for the travelers’ resting convenience. Spraying and cooling facilities and information display screen for the waiting room among other efficient services form a comfortable and well-suited waiting environment for travelers during a short stay. Commercial centers in north and south will be decorated with lively and interactive waterscapes, cozy and comfortable outdoor furniture, and fresh and relaxing spaces in forest shadows to produce a delighted commercial scenario of slow movement, so that busy travelers can take a relief and enjoy an afternoon tea out of a tight schedule. Office courtyards with natural stone settings and cherry trees falling into running water establish the identity and lift working pressure off white-collars who can enjoy a relaxing and slow working environment in tree shadows. Tower apartment buildings filled with terrace gardens with elevation differences and hotel-style entrances generate an elegant scenario of quality and slow movement and a feeling of coming home for those living inside.
▽站前广场林荫口袋 Station front square shady pocket
▽南区商业通廊休憩口袋 Southern Commercial Corridor rest pocket
时光生花——山茶花形的艺术姿态 Blossoming Time: Artistic Form of Camellia
It is necessary to find a special urban symbol uniquely belonging to Chongqingxi Railway Station to differentiate it from its peers across the nation, as almost all of them have a homogeneous appearance. Stations of this kind are an important window to display a city, and a unique symbol will become a characteristic showcase for the true style of Chongqing.
▽全区山茶花设计语言 The whole district camellia design language
▽山茶花语言转译景观空间 Camellia language translation landscape space
Camellia, representing Chongqing, is an urban cultural symbol with a strong sense of identity. Inspired by the blooming camellia, we translate it into a language applied in landscape design. Along the central axis for the city, two beautiful camellias are fully blossoming on two sides of the front plaza, composed of green islands and paving to guide traffic rapidly. When camellias meet narrow spaces at the northern and southern ends, flowers are decomposed into refined and flexible petals composed of green islands, paving, and furniture to slow down paces of visitors for pleasure. Camellias in their fullness, together with small and dispersed petals, shape the image of the station and create a unique urban symbol.
▽“花朵”的弧线细节处理 “Flower” arc detail treatment
▽“花瓣”的空间演绎 The spatial interpretation of “petal”
3、景观先行 The Pilot Area
As the first area accessible to the public in the project of the Eye of Chongqing, the pilot area will have its landscape presented in the strategy of “slowness and fastness”, in which clear dynamic lines draw a traffic system that is singing the lyric of the time; spaces of different properties are combined to form a pleasant life scenario; blossoming time full of bold and refined design languages creates a special artistic form for the site. A series of measures to flow with the rhythm of “slowness and fastness” help visitors deeply experience time, either fleeting or meandering.
▽先行区平面图 Plan of pilot area
▽夜幕下的景观先行区 Landscape pioneer area under night
▽入口引导景墙与欢迎水景 The entrance leads to a view wall with a welcoming water feature
▽时光水景与石雕水带 Time waterscape and stone carving water belt
时光广场 Time Plaza
Time Plaza borrows the design language of the front plaza, as the former’s foundation is in the same style as the format of the latter. Rolling Silhouette Screens at the entrance guide traffics of vehicles and people to rapidly identify the place and enter the inner part. As a transit hub in pilot area, Time Plaza is roundly shaped and it has exquisitely paved lines to separate people and vehicle. The Time Plaza is guarded by two lines of tall zelkova trees, showing direction clearly for rapid movement into the core of the landscape. A space under canopy is also created for idling ones to sit down and walk around. Waterscape in Fleeting at the core of the landscape is not only a transit guidance island but also an important artistic space whose intaglio craftsmanship of eight paths stretches through the city, revealing a cultural connection between the pilot area and the Station. The curved stone carving in water resembles the gear of time. As the fountain begins to spring, visitors’ steps slow down and visitors can touch the silhouette of the city lightly. A taste of how time revolves brings a smell of art for the site.
▽夕阳下的时光广场 Time Square at sunset
▽时光水景喷泉 Water fountain of time
▽时光水景与穿梭的人群 Time waterscape and shuttle crowd
花林广场 Plaza of Flowers and Forests
Plaza of Flowers and Forests close to office buildings is for white collars to enjoy leisure in shadows via the shortest route. Delicate camellia petals are the shape of seats, whose cambered backrest and flower-shaped punched steel plate further add to the features of the site. Yoshino Cherry planted in groups not only immerses the place in spring romance, but also builds up a spatial structure to form a comfortable space under canopy. It becomes even more gentle with petal-shaped seats in cherry trees and a colorful garden. Sitting inside flowers with a cup of coffee to feel the slow move of time can be people’s escape from a tiring day or fatigue and freedom to a status of valuable ease.
▽重庆之眼南区鸟瞰 An aerial view of the southern district of chongqing Eye
▽建筑展厅入口精致铺装 The entrance of the exhibition hall is exquisitely paved
▽夜幕下的花林广场 Hualin Square at night
▽在花瓣坐凳上休憩 Rest on the petal stool
▽花林广场花瓣坐凳细节 Flower forest square petal seating details
▽林下休憩的西站人群 The crowd of west Station taking a rest under the forest
流水花园 Garden of Flowing Water
The tranquil Garden of Flowing Water is a place to steep emotions thoroughly; thanks to the isolated social space on a leisure platform created by waterscape on mirror surface, composed of two overlapping petals accompanied with surrounding flowers. Gurgling brook flows along stone texture; soft sofas are placed beside the water; sunrise and sunset cast moving shadows through Sapium Sebiferum onto the seat area, like a scroll being rolled out. In the visual echoing of the Station and the Garden of Flowing Water, travelers on a mission bid farewell to friends and walk into the waiting room with ease in their steps, longing for the next destination.
▽清晨流水花园 Morning Water Garden
▽流水花园阳光剪影 Silhouette of the sun in the flowing Water Garden
▽沉浸式社交口袋 Immersive social pocket
▽流水与建筑展厅交相辉映 The flowing water and the exhibition hall of the building complement each other
▽旋涡水景与休憩的人 Whirlpool water features and rest of the people
▽流水社交口袋内的交谈 Flow conversations in social pockets
▽夕阳下的奔跑 Running in the sunset
▽波浪石材肌理细节 Details of wave stone texture
▽水景旁花镜 Waterside flower glasses
Design Name: The Times Hub
Project Name: Chongqing West Railway Station (Pilot Area)
Project Location: Chongqing, China
Landscape Design: Atelier Scale
Design Team: Huicheng Zhong, Feimin Song, Wanlu Ye, Shengzhu Huang, Jiawei Ling, Zhihua Chen, Juan Lin, Fan Wang, Qin Yan, Xing Ye，Xiang Chen, Yuantao Lin
Client: CIFI Group Southeast Region
Client Team: Lu Wang, Zhongxun Ma, Qi Zhong, Xianhua Tan, Sisi Liu, Chen Chen, Yao Zhou, Mingliang Feng, Qiwan Huang
Construction Contractor (Pilot Area) : Jisheng Ecology Group
LDI (Pilot Area) : Chongqing Daohe Landscape Architecture
Architect (Pilot Area): HZS
Interior Design (Pilot Area): Fun Connection
Landscape Furniture Staging (Pilot Area): Matrix Design
Photo Credit: Holi Landscape Photography
Special Thanks: Lin Luo, Junni Li, Xiaoyu Yang
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