The Life Art Plaza project is a community center park located at Chongqing's central park ecological region and between two major regional parks- the Central Park and Huashigou Park. It tries to carry on its regional planning goal, to create a continuous public open space system for the community. The design team is inspired by Chongqing's featured traditional public open space system consisted of four elements- the street, the terrace, the alley, and the yard, and creatively combined the modern landscape design with the social space pattern and cultural symbols in history. The project thoughtfully enhanced cultural heritage, community integration, and the local eco-system most poetically and aesthetically.
As the city's new development area, its urban framework has a distinctive feature compared to the old downtown area. The former is modern, vehicular scale-based, and more public; the latter is traditional, pedestrian scale-based, and more intimate. The design team's initial ambition is to create site identity with Chongqing's exceptional characters and inherit the storytelling and interconnected historical urban space features. With these cultural heritage goals in mind, the team leads the design under three strategies.
1.CONNECT AN OPEN SPACE SYSTEM
The design aims to create series of interconnected social spaces from the street to the community center, including the pedestrian pathway (the street), the front water plaza (the terrace), the water hallway (the alley), and the living garden (the yard). It is a continuous walking experience inheriting the traditional city's perceptions but with more sharing and communication opportunities, and with dynamic and variation. To achieve this, the design team negotiated with the client during the design process and persuaded them to accommodate more redline setbacks to provide the public with an open, diversified, and connected urban park space.
2.CREATE FOUR TYPES OF OPEN SPACE
The design of the four spaces responded to the four types of traditional open space accordingly.
The Pedestrian Pathway (The Street)
Chongqing's traditional street represented a relaxed lifestyle as the medium for daily life. The design is trying to create the same slow-paced atmosphere. A pedestrian pathway including a multi-use track with continuous paving even at the road crossing is proposed to lead visitors toward the entrance as a relaxing and safe transition before entering the site.
The Front Water Plaza (The Terrace)
The terrace in history is the open entrance space in front of residential buildings. The front water plaza is the welcoming spot to the visitors connected with the entrance. A sunken water feature with a mist system is arranged at the plaza center to create a significant area for social activities and water interaction.
The Water Hallway (The Alley)
The alley is more private and intimate than the street, which connects internal residential units in history. The design creates a linear tree alley to connect the water plaza and living garden, leading visitors to the site's intimate area. A reflecting pool is proposed right by the alley to reflect the walking experience with a layer of serenity and peace.
The Living Garden (The Yard)
The yard is the space enclosed by walls and buildings for private leisure in history. The Living garden inherited the traditional yard space's intimate scale to create a semi-private garden between community center buildings for the residents.
3. MEMORIZE THROUGH DETAILS
The design details represent the traditional perforated wall with modern material's texture in an artistic way throughout the site, which creates a vivid shadow effect.
The design strategies aim to influences the new urban development with cultural heritage goals and urge the new trend to recall historical memories in contemporary public space design. It also rebuilds the residents' cultural confidence and sense of belongings through aesthetical and emotional echoes with its history.
The project creates a series of functional spaces to encourage the residents and citizens to participate and forge the neighborhood's livelihood atmosphere. As a successful case of long-term urban activation, the project becomes the essential space for community integration, as the center of daily outdoor lives and occasional social gatherings; meanwhile, the client successfully promotes the area's popularity and reputation.
CONTINUITY OF ECO-SYSTEM
The design follows the ecological philosophy in traditional Chongqing's urban space to create microclimate by smart planting strategies according to its spatial pattern. The design tries to keep the consistency with Huashigou Park's native planting community and select to plant cryptomeria tree as the main species on site. The trees are planted in clusters and rows based on the site's environmental factors to create cool summer shades and winter windshields. The cryptomeria tree's under-canopy space is very high, which creates view openings for visitors; meanwhile, its dense canopy is optimal for parameter buffering. The park creates a lush green habitat for residents by merging an eco-system into its open space. It also stitched the larger-scale urban green network's gap between the two regional parks.
One of the project goals is to mitigate the stormwater surges as a critical issue in Chongqing's summer. The design combines stormwater management with the proposed water features. Rainwater from the structures' rooftop is collected and stored for irrigation and water feature water supply after filtering. By creating a dynamic balance between nature and human activities, the project benefits the community's microclimate in many aspects, including relives the high-temperature weather in summer and preserves the air's humidity level in dry winter.
A&N Shangyuan Landscape Design is a research and development based landscape design firm dedicated to curating a better life. Our practice includes landscape design, urban planning, green system planning, ecological restoration ranging from parks and plazas to cities and tourism towns. Since its establishment in 2006, A&N Shangyuan has been well recognized for refinement and completion of work, developing long-term strategic partnerships with well-known developers, and receiving worldwide design awards. We currently operate in Chongqing, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, with over 150 employees.