Urban Open Space Providing the Sense of Belonging | GVL Work
People like to live where there is water and grass. The same is true when they build their cities. Every city has its own river vein. Just like the Seine to Paris, the Thames to London, the Hangpu River to Shanghai, the Xiang River is the symbol of Changsha City, which serves as the living resource and spiritual support for generations.
Known as the hometown of the famous patriots Qu Yuan and Jia Yi, and the cradle of the traditional Chinese culture, Changsha is now a famous city for entertainment culture. From a small ancient town to today’s international city, Changsha has been updating itself through reforming and exploring. In the Riverside Park along the west bank of the Xiang River, GVL has designed a 2.45 km long landscape zone for both commerce and tourism. It will further update the international image of Changsha City. Changsha has always been built along the two banks of the Xiang River since ancient times. Based on the Riverside Park which is planned to be the “international financial center” and the “core of the CBD”, GVL’s design team has taken advantage of the 2.45 km long waterfront resources to create a landscape zone which will greatly improve the international status of Changsha City. From the perspective of operation, the design team has taken advantages of superior waterfront resources, hoping to create a complex landscape zone which integrates tourism, commerce, recreation, culture and sports. Upon completion, it will be an urban open space which meets everyday demands and provides a sense of belonging. With Tanshan Road on the north and Yinpenling Bridge 150 m to the south, the site is opposite to downtown Changsha and the four government buildings, enjoying rich ecological and landscape resources. However, the long and narrow site is lack of spaces for experience, interaction and recreation, which doesn’t match the position of the Riverside Park.
The Xiang River is the chief river of the Lake Dongting drainage system of the middle Yangtze, abundant in water resources. Therefore, the design of the riverfront should take the variation of water level into consideration. According to the changes of water level over the years, the design team has transferred the dull riverfront space into a three-level space system, which will greatly enhance the interaction between people and water. When designing the space structure, the team hopes to well control the space and highlight the characteristics of the site by proper use of points, lines and interfaces. Points, just like the DNA of the space, shape the memorable nodes of the space; lines mean the traffic system which includes the footpath, the cycleway and the mini railway, making the landscape zone more accessible; the points and lines combine to form some interfaces. With clear plan, it will create a series of orderly riverfront spaces.
Landscape design is not only for visual effect but also for more possibilities. From the perspective of operation, the team has created a series of facilities for fun, which will attract people and promote the commercial development in the future. The landscape corridor is designed to connect with the commercial podium buildings. Arch structure in the Hunan Embroidery Square allows people to have more fun when crossing it. Landscape tower is designed as a landmark for overlooking the beautiful views of the Xiang River. Lively whale sculpture matches the fountains perfectly, providing great experience for children. And the sand beach provides more possibilities for fun experience in the future commercial area.
The west bank of the Xiang River is where Changsha’ industrial civilization began and where the old Yuxiang Cotten Mill and Changsha Shipyard were located. Thus the team has used the industrial elements of the old shipyard and post-modern design skills to identify the landscape. The old site of Yuxiang Cotton Mill was located on the south of Yinpenling Bridge, which benefited the development of Hunan Embroidery. The team is inspired by the mesh pattern and twisted pattern of Hunan embroidery and creates some typical landscape items. The old shipyard is located in the south end of the site. The designers have followed the historical style and created a double-level lounge bridge which provides diversified spaces for stay and relaxation. It hopes to remind people of the old memory and well interpret the history of the city. The classical ship model produced by Changsha Shipyard is also used in landscape design, reminding people of the old days.
People of different ages have different requirements for the public spaces. Therefore, the design team tries to provide multiple space experiences which provide people with comfort and the sense of belonging. Riverside Park, which is called “the Lujiazui” in Changsha, is developing rapidly to become the most active financial center in Changsha or even in China. Now, the first stage of the landscape zone has already come into service, which embraces every dynamic morning together with the struggling young people here.
Short office name: GVL
Role of the office in the project: Landscape design
Project location: Changsha, China
Developer: Changsha Riverside Park Construction & Development Co., Ltd.
Category: tourism planning and urban open space design
Area: 143,000 m2
Design year: 2016
Year Built: up to now