A Borderless Garden in Urban Crevices

This 5,400m2 project is located at Liantou Dongfang PARK Shopping Mall at the intersection of Songgang Avenue and Dongfang Avenue in Songgang Residential District, Baoan District, Shenzhen—on the border of an old commercial plaza in an urban community. 

Prior to the renovation, the site was a small public space commonly found but habitually ignored in many cities; it was the border of a landmark building. As a point in a commercial block where pedestrians gather and disperse, basic greening facilities constitute the only content of the space. In addition, the single vegetation hedge neither ornaments the site nor connects urban roads to the commercial plaza, interrupting the dialog between the commercial square and the city and consigning the whole space to oblivion.

How can spaces on the margins of urban centers survive as urban polycentricity grows? Shenzhen adopts “Urban Flowery Streets” as its slogan and takes measures to add new colors to gray urban spaces.

The design team aims not to landscape gray spaces, but to rethink urban boundaries. Therefore, the designers verified in the design process multiple times if they can multiply the single perspective. From the perspective of streets, commercial squares, pedestrians, and residents, we intervene in the use of spaces to deliver them from the unipolarity of the one-way urban perspective and encourage diverse activities within.

This is not only the boundary of the square, but also another square. It is an accessible event venue, a highlight among the high-rises, a passageway connecting blocks, and a community platform. We promote interaction between people and spaces and open up borderless spaces in urban crevices to build solid spiritual gardens for people living here.

Project Design:

(1) “Circles” in Gardens

When it comes to the selection of elements, we retain circular formation—the most striking of the site’s original visual symbols, construct different spaces using “circles” as the basic design element and create aggregation and landscape layers in the spaces through a combination of the positive and negative forms of the “circle” and an arrangement of them. As the basic element, the “circles” are distributed in such a way that they together look like the letter L horizontally. The roads reserved to ensure the accessibility of the space serve to optimize traffic and make the site appealing, unique and integral.

(2) “Borderless” Borders

We connect the streets to the square with straight lines. These colorful, dynamic lines join up with multiple spaces and redefine the relationship between the inside and outside of the site through convenient access and flexible road arrangement—green belts are no longer urban obstacles. The open boundary guides residents and pedestrians into the space, where seats, platforms, small stages, and installation frameworks are provided to meet people’s needs in spaces such as rest, parent-child tours, exercises, play, social interaction, and other community activities.

(3) Urban Embrace

We employ semi-circular and arc lines to make the space both open and independent, the rest space surrounded by the landscape attractive, and the urban gray spaces vibrant, building a social circle of different activities that serves all. The distribution of seats, stairs and planting beds crosses the original boundaries of the site, reshapes the urban public space, promotes communication between neighborhoods in a designer public space, and encourages people to embrace all parts of the city.

Project location:Liantou Dongfang PARK Huayang Block, Songgang Residential District, Shenzhen

Design year: 2019

Year Built:2020

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