The Axis Park is an urban rejuvenation project located in the heart of CBD in Nantong city. Due to the new city development and new needs for public space, the previous park calls for redesign in 2018. YIYU is honored to be selected for the renovation task. The new park is constructed in 2020 and reopens again in 2021.
The previous park composes of an axis walkway, a large-scale linear fountain, two green belts, and multiple decorative statues along the axis. Before the renovation, the park was underused due to the lack of functional spaces for urban activities. The park also suffered from ill maintenance owing to previous high-cost design for operation. The center linear waterscape was shut down for years due to the insufficient budget to operate. On top of that, the green belts at two sides was overly planted, and without frequent maintenance of this high-density plantation, the park became messy and shady where potential safety risks could happen to the city.
The old park also had an imbalanced condition where the design focused on decoration and grandiose, rather than functions and engagements. Visitors could hardly stay due to a lack of sitting area and activity space. The park became a park only to look at, but not a park to stay and interact.
YIYU uses this opportunity to explore the possibility of functions for the new park, and study potential identity for the new urban landscape. In the research, we discover that the surrounding of the site is highly populated. With shopping malls, office towers, and hotels in the vicinity, the location of the park could be the perfect central open space for the CBD, and a variety of urban activities can happen at the site.
With the opportunity, our proposal is to seek a park as “ a window to showcase urban lives, a gallery to curate activities “. People and social engagement become the keystone of the project – People as the scenery, and activities as the landmark.
Our design step is to replace the non-operational elements with clear and functional spaces. Such as removing the center linear waterscape with multi-functional open lawn, and replacing the decorative statues with interactive benches for sitting and playing.
Another step is to reduce the overly dense green belt by relocating existing trees. With the adjustment of density, the park becomes open again to the streets, and dangerous corners are eliminated from the city.
The new park includes four areas: A central event lawn, a landform performance park, two interactive sitting areas, and a playground. The structure of the park is to create an open plan without clear boundaries between areas. Views are open to each other and activities are connected between each other. The plan also provides the possibility for the extension of activities. The playground where kids run can connect to the landform park as an extension of the play. The open lawn where the music festival is held can be integrated with the sitting area as the audience’s bench.
The park also utilizes low-cost design for construction and maintenance. The landform park balances the cut and fills to create a topography design without additional soils from outside. The expensive linear waterscape is replaced with an open lawn which is easy to maintain yet multi-functional for art events, music festivals, and weekend markets.
Useful to the users and fun to the visitors, with green and inspirational places designed, the new Axis park provides a new place for people to rest and have fun. A park where something new can always be found by the people. And a park with endless energy can be discovered from urban lives.
Project location: Taoyuan Road, Nantong, China
Design year: 2019
Year Built: 2021