atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai

Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects reimagines Urban Spaces in Shanghai

 

Putuo Caoyang Centennial Park project by Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects transforms a former rail line into a multilevel, mixed-use park at the heart of Shanghai. The site, formerly housing the Zhenru freight rail branch line and later the Caoyang Farmers’ Market, has been converted into a nearly 1-kilometer-long, 10- to 15-meter-wide multilevel, mixed-use park. This redevelopment follows the market’s closure in 2019. Branded as ‘3K Corridors,’ Caoyang Centennial Park integrates art into community life, reflecting the 2021 Shanghai SUSAS theme. The design reimagines the space as a vine-and-melon-like walking belt, reshaping the area’s grassland system and promoting organic renewal within the Caoyang Community. This linear site, having served as a railway land and then a market for over two decades, exemplifies the overlooked spaces in megacities that can be revitalized during urban redevelopment.

 

Caoyang Xincun, the earliest planned workers’ community by the PRC government, carries significant historical and collective memories. The site, previously lined with market houses along an abandoned railway, was repurposed by the district government and its sub-district office into a city park aimed at enhancing living standards and spatial quality. The project was executed under a tight schedule, with an initial design sketched in two days and finalized in two weeks. Coordination among several departments facilitated smooth progress from design to construction, resulting in the park’s completion and opening within a year.

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
all images by Zhu Runzi, Liang Junhao

 

 

Caoyang Centennial Park expands to Serve Community Needs

 

The narrow site is expanded threefold through a multilevel strategy by Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects, catering to nearby residents, schools, and offices. With limitations on distances to the underground tunnel and surrounding buildings, a semi-basement was excavated to a depth of 1 meter. The first level is raised to 1.4 meters, creating a semi-basement that functions as a social ‘container’ for temporary programs such as art exhibitions, community activities, and creative markets. The highline is limited to 3.8 meters to avoid disturbing nearby residences. The 880-meter-long park is divided into north and south sections, featuring ten distinct scenarios for public functions like gatherings, activities, entertainment, leisure, and sports. These scenarios spread from the middle to the north and south ends, connecting social spaces while maintaining distinct areas for various activities.

 

The north gate serves as the main entrance, integrating the facade designs of nearby buildings and creating a cohesive entrance space. A double-line highway over Lanxi Road allows the park’s walking experience to extend across both sides. In the south section, a circular corridor connects two highline paths, with hackberry trees integrated into the structure, allowing visitors to interact with the greenery.

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
Caoyang Centennial Park transforms a former rail line into a multilevel, mixed-use park

 

 

Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects’ Color and Structure Strategy

 

Extensive time was spent on color matching to ensure the park’s aesthetic fit within the community. The final decision was to keep the main structure silver-grey and paint the inner sides orange, aiming to convey a sense of vitality. The semi-basement features a silver-white and yellow color scheme, differentiating it from the lighter, open ground floor space and enhancing the overall harmony.

 

A series of lightly structured arc canopies, inspired by railway platforms, provide sunshade. The canopies are not waterproof to encourage a natural experience and maintain structural lightness. These canopies, colored in five different shades, help zone the park and serve as navigational aids for visitors.

 

The design team engaged in extensive dialogue with nearby residents and institutions to create suitable boundaries. Various wall designs were developed, ranging from block walls with washed stone finishes to steel structures that allow visual connections and plant growth. This collaborative approach ensured the boundaries reflect the preferences and needs of the community, resulting in a dynamic and responsive park design. The project emphasizes integrating into a typical urban community context, demonstrating how to creatively utilize and rejuvenate leftover urban spaces.

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
the vibrant park, nearly 1 kilometer long and 10-15 meters wide, replaces the Caoyang Farmers’ Market

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
the design reimagines the space as a vine-like walking belt, promoting organic renewal within the community

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
the park integrates art into community life, reflecting the 2021 Shanghai SUSAS theme

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
this linear site exemplifies how overlooked spaces in megacities can be revitalized

putuo-caoyang-centennial-park-atelier-liu-yuyang-architects-shanghai-designboom-1800-4

the narrow site is expanded through a multilevel strategy, catering to nearby residents

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
the park features ten distinct scenarios for gatherings, activities, entertainment, leisure, and sports

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
a series of lightly structured arc canopies, inspired by railway platforms, provide sunshade

 

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
the north gate serves as the main entrance, integrating the facade designs of nearby buildings

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
pops of vibrant orange within silver-grey structures’ inner sides convey vitality

atelier liu yuyang architects transforms former rail line into vine-like walking belt in shanghai
extensive dialogue with residents shaped the park’s boundaries, reflecting community preferences

putuo-caoyang-centennial-park-atelier-liu-yuyang-architects-shanghai-designboom-1800-3

the project rejuvenates leftover urban spaces within a typical community context

 

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south circle corridor 
south circle corridor 
south BOTTLE space
south BOTTLE space
lanxi road overpass
lanxi road overpass
north entrance Caoyang urban livingroom
north entrance Caoyang urban livingroom
axonometric drawing
axonometric drawing

project info:

 

name: Putuo Caoyang Centennial Park

architect: Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects | @alya_architects

location: Putuo District, Shanghai, China

photography: Zhu Runzi | @zhu_runzi – Liang Junhao

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: christina vergopoulou | designboom

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