The LUHU Scientific and Technological Culture Area is conceived as a cluster of cultural buildings aimed at leveraging Longhua’s role as a technological and innovation center to elevate the quality of public life in the region. A triad of public buildings – a theatre, an art center, and a library – totaling 76,890 m² forms the centerpiece of the project, which also comprises a science museum and office buildings.
Located in Longhua’s Luhu District, the seventy-hectare site is wedged between an industrial area and the slopes of a nature park fragmented by years of hasty urban development and unrestrained spillways from the nearby Hengkeng reservoir. Instead of approaching infrastructural and ecological challenges as separate from architectural design, our project advances a building strategy that employs architecture to reorganize the topography and the spillways into public amenities inhabiting a new type of waterfront.
The lack of a spatial relationship between the existing urban environment and the natural landscape beyond brings instability to the site. Our scheme creates two axes (North/South and East/West) that anchor the site, balance city and landscape, and connect the project to the southern reservoir. These axes bring a sense of clarity to the site, but are expressed in a relatively loose manner, allowing the public zones to be coherent while maintaining a humane scale with varied architectural conditions at the edge of the water.
The boundary is irregular in shape. This incomplete form, located between the urban fabric and the natural landscape, requires a strong organizing principle to orient the architectural and planning strategy and to clarify the overall design approach. By reorganizing the topography and reshaping the waterfront, we integrate the architecture and landscape within the site boundary, creating an ordered urban space that transforms the site’s ad-hoc character. The unified environment resulting from this approach will help solve problems at the larger urban scale.
By dividing large program masses into their smallest components, we managed to “extend” the landscape over roads, restoring natural continuity, increasing the overall green area of the park, and creating a seamless transition between building and landscape. The topographic organization of masses generates a series of discrete, interconnected public spaces cascading downhill and tied into a continuous loop that gives shape to a new spillway basin. Reimagined as a civic waterfront, the basin edge is designed as a place in flux, where programming of public space changes with the fluctuating, seasonal water level.
The project intentionally breaks with conventional approaches to designing civic buildings as monumental objects in favor of a more diverse articulation of public spaces, reminiscent of traditional villages. Taken as a whole, the looping waterfront village becomes a new public realm meant to reconnect the surrounding neighborhoods with the Hengkeng reservoir promenade, but also to contain future development along its edge and away from the park.
Based in New York City, Studio Link-Arc, LLC is an international team of architects and designers. Our name, Link-Arc, refers to the practice’s collaborative nature as well as the company’s mission, which is to work across disciplines to create strategy and design in the fields of urban planning, architecture, spatial art and landscape. We accomplish this by linking knowledge, resources, and intelligence, from multiple perspectives and diverse backgrounds.
Our body of work includes innovative projects at all scales. We see the relationship between architecture and context as an opportunity to create new context, new nature and a new understanding of the world. Through research, we uncover the essential truths unique to each project, and use those truths to create concepts and to shape form. We endeavor to create refined works of architecture. We create spaces that promote contemplation and imagination and provide quiet satisfaction through the simple act of occupation.