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West Bund Riverfront

designed by /

Location: China / Shanghai / Type: Parks / Waterfronts / Built: 2021 /
Published on May 31, 2023

Since opening the first of seven sections in 2021 has become one of Shanghai’s most loved destinations. The West Bund is a vibrant, revitalised destination that now attracts people from all over Shanghai as a riverside art and cultural centre, with a previously inaccessible waterfront area having been turned into a drawcard, offering a connection to nature, healing, leisure and respite.

Our client, the West Bund Group, is committed to providing more enjoyable and easily-accessible spaces for the public. In early 2021, Hassell was commissioned to work on a series of waterfront projects spanning 11.4km along the West Bund part of Huangpu River in Shanghai, stretching from north to south. Once a significant industrial cradle on the Huangpu River and previously the site of the 2010 World Expo, the West Bund has now been magnificently transformed into a valuable open space in the high-density city.

Our team considered four types of waterfront spaces with different functions – cultural venues, retail, independent buildings and temporary facilities – and identified ways of configuring various spaces based on four dimensions: human scale, identity, a shared space and activation, which highlight the co-existence between green spaces and buildings.

The West Bund now boasts grassy areas for picnics and gatherings and quiet time, exercise spots and cafes, a skate ramp and bicycle lanes and even a long table for activities such as drawing, created by our team and inspired of the way the river curves and flows, cafés and a skate ramp. Our team has been delighted to see people engaging with the spaces in ways that we planned but also in other unexpected and innovative ways.

We retained the many fully grown trees that existed on the site as well as some of the buildings that were already there in order to preserve the cherished memories that people have of this area, as well as part of the sustainability approach for the project.

Our project team needed to address a number of challenges as part of the project including the impact of annual typhoons and floods. We retained as many of the existing plants as possible, as their deep and stable roots are able to resist natural disasters. Meanwhile, we did a detailed plan for selecting species of plants near flood control walls and on over-river platforms that will create a more resilient environment that can cope with extreme weather. These plants also adapt to seasonal changes, allowing people who are living in an urban environment to experience changes in nature.

Project Data


 West Bund Group
LOCATION Shanghai, China
SCALE 1,200 sqm (full scope: 40,000 sqm)
DESIGN TEAM Andrew Wilkinson, Michelle Zhu, Yucheng Chen, Poppy Wu, Xiaolin Chen, Andi An, Jiayi Hu, Rex Zhao, Shane McCarthy
AWARDS Winner, Streetscape Research Centre (SRC) Design Awards 2023 – Outstanding Award

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