DLC: The Huangpu River, excavated by Lord Chunshen during China’s warring states period (475 BC – 221 BC), is a 113 km long tributary flowing through Shanghai, China. Due to its unique geographical location and vast maritime advantages, the Huangpu River from the mid-19th through the end of the 20th century became an ideal location for factories, docks, stacks and warehouses and was also the best choice for large-scale industry such as shipbuilding. Eventually bridges and tunnels are obviously needed for more efficient access. In October 1993, Yang Pu Bridge stretching the Huangpu River opened as one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world connecting Puxi’s Yang Pu District with Pudong. Originally grey and unpainted, Yang Pu Bridge was coated red for the city’s millennial celebration and has remained its iconic flame color to this day.
Currently, the Shanghai Yangpu Bridge Park is only part of a wider vision to promote vibrant urban life on the banks of the Huangpu River. Recently the municipality of Shanghai commenced a 21 km large scale reconstruction of the Huangpu’s east bank that has opened the landscape of Shanghai onto the river’s edge. By establishing a new living interface between neighborhoods and the river, a new series of public spaces hosts a succession of riverside parks and linear paths that animate the river banks previously unoccupied industrialized edge. The Huangpu’s newly established link and relationship to the city has created a new breath of life and a new identity with Shanghai and its symbolic skyline.
Given the importance of Shanghai Yangpu Bridge Park as part of Shanghai’s new riverside appearance, it was important that the design of the park include the government’s larger vision for both sides of the river. The master plans ‘main path’, ‘discovery path’ and ‘sports path’ continue through the Park and are adapted to blend with the engineering vernacular found with the bridge.
Flame red concrete walls inspired by the power and strength of the bridge are terraced away from the river’s edge as part of a 45 km Huangpu River Restructuring Flood Control Initiative. Multi-leveled cascading gardens are connected by ramps and pedestrian bridges that echo the Bridge itself. Marsh and meadows, terraced lawns with red-themed Sapium trees (Sapium sebiferum), Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘rubra’) and Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) integrate two amphitheaters with a network of courtyards and paths. Two early 20th century wooden structure warehouses are planned to become a Children & Young Adult Learning Center, Children Biodiversity Activity Center, Yangtze Delta & Wetland Study Area and an indoor/outdoor adventure and discovery playground.
The education and entertainment activities help narrate the ecological and economic value the Huangpu River and its bridges have with a modern evolving Shanghai. This helps support awareness that a marvel of engineering can work in unison with ecology and education.
Landscape Architect: DLC
Client: Shanghai East Bund Investment (Group) Co., Ltd
Project location: 88, Lane 2175, Pudong Avenue, Shanghai, China