An Urban Valley on the Road

The project is located inside Yuehai Street Software Industry Base, the most developed science and technology park in Shenzhen. It is adjacent to Haitian 2nd Road to the north and connects Binhai Avenue, a main urban road in Shenzhen, to the south—right in a crevice between office buildings where the office staff of major corporate headquarters work. The project site is a belt-like open space running north-south, with an area of structure of about 1,230m2, a height of 1.5m in relation to the municipal main road, and a distance of less than 6m from the two high-rise office buildings on the east and west sides. It is arguably a cramped space in a forest of glass and reinforcing steel bars.

A highly folded space hems in the project, forming an efficiently-operating time-space where no one seems to want to travel far or need amazing views. People are seriously alienated; they never let up in their steps. Those who work according to the 9-9-6 schedule and the brightly-lit office buildings look impeccable at first sight, yet a considerable pressure is building up without our knowing to bring about a total collapse at any moment. This is a bewildering space.

The design team did a long-term site survey in the hope of expressing their sympathy for anxious urbanites through the project and bringing them another kind of comfort through insignificant yet accumulating space intervention. People can pause, rest, and examine themselves in retrospect even if they are on the road. This separately-built poetic green space is different from the other spaces nearby in that it reminds people to pay attention to the world in which they exist and to hold expectations of a distant mountain valley.

Project Design:

(1) Still on the Road

When it comes to the arrangement of roads, the designers choose to ensure efficient traffic management within the site. Certain spaces and roads are designated for extensive use in the initial stages of the project to avoid interfering with the traffic and show respect for people’s habit in their daily work. The newly-built landscape roads and barrier-free passages better meet people’s needs in multiple folding scenarios.

(2) An Encounter with a Green Environment

The display of visual effects revolves around “green” to deliver a sense of comfort in a simple and direct way. Extensive green partition separates the site from the surrounding office buildings and other open spaces, and road segmentation ensures the relative integrity of the natural greening layers, rendering them eye-catching and pure.

(3) Experiencing an Urban Valley

The designers utilize the height difference between the site and the surroundings to create a miniature “urban valley” that fits well into the environment: the height difference is eliminated through barrier-free passages and stairs, and at the same time, a visual image open to the main roads is presented. The height-difference stairs and straight lines compose a multi-plane overall landscape that offers peace and comfort. The design featuring height differences combines the landscape and the rest space, broadens its view, and increases its accommodation capacity.

The stairs re-integrate the site, creating the sense that they serve as a portal offering access to the site. The use of mirrors as components not only draws people’s attention to the space, but also enhances the spatial experience of those who enter. It makes the shift from the working state to the resting state to bring a sense of detachment (through changes to behavior and location) to people busy at work.

The landscape wall and gallery frame in the rest area are important spatial expressions. The mirror provided at the bottom of the gallery frame compensates for the thinness of the narrow, long space and raises the possibility of having a dialog with oneself for those who enter.

Design year:Time of Design: 2019

Year Built: Time of Completion: 2020

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