ASPECT Studios creates playful curvaceous sky park in Chengdu

Jul 27, 2020
  • Article by Elisa Scarton

ASPECT Studios has designed a multi-level linear sky park filled with curved pools and impromptu performance spaces in Chengdu, China.

Dubbed the HyperLane, the 2.4-kilometre park links the Chengdu fast train station with the city’s music and arts university district.

The site in China’s Sichuan province was originally a series of “derelict walled spaces” that separated the student accommodation from the university campus, driving traffic between the two sites through a number of small alleyways.

“It was these alleyways, crammed with life, people and food sellers that offered inspiration,” says ASPECT Studios.

“The vibrant urban art and graffiti demonstrated the artistic energy that laid under the surface of the community.”

The Australian landscape architecture studio designed a barrier free skypark and pedestrian network to better connect the university and accomodation, but also support “community connection” through creative arts and music.

Conceptualised pre-COVID-19, with construction completed shortly after lockdown, the project responded to local guidelines on social distancing within an urban space.

The first phase to be completed is ‘The Urban Gallery’ – a “social experiential place” designed to host a permanent programme of events.

It features the ‘The Water Carpet’ – a series of shallow water pools with curved edges, lighting displays, textural contrast and planting pockets that connect the promenade to the ‘Performance Gallery’

Here, a vibrant exterior space encourages “impromptu performances, arts exhibitions and cultural gatherings” in its open air theatre.

Enclosed to the east is a sculptural timber terrace deck, which allows visitors to gather in the shade of the trees to watch the performances.

While to the north, a curved fence of white plinths acts as a backdrop to the garden and screens a carpark.

“The landscape design of the scheme is founded on the principle of creating a balanced system that responds to both the humanistic and environmental needs of the project,” says ASPECT Studios.

“A series of youth community-oriented networks, connections, social spaces, performance, and creative arts programmes and activities interplay with a response to the site’s natural systems.”

Ample lighting and edge displays of perforated steel illuminate the spaces 24/7.

A key feature of ASPECT Studio’s design was the use of local species, including the Phoebe Zhennan tree, which is native to Chengdu and registered on the endangered species list.

These, coupled with a system to “passively absorb, clean and use rainfall in an ecologically sensitive way” that reduces polluted stormwater runoff, are intended to encourage insects, birds and wildlife to the urban corridor.

The Urban Gallery is the first phase of an urban development project in Chengdu headed by international architecture firm AEDAS.

ASPECT Studios is a design firm specialising in landscape architecture, urban design, wayfinding and urban strategy with studios in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Shanghai.

The studio recently teamed up with SJB to deliver a 500-metre-long park for the Parramatta Civic Link in Sydney.

Photography: lubing.

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