Monument for Constructed Waste: Shanghai Riverfront Aite Park by

Public Landscapes / Public Landscapes / China / Built in 2016 /

Riverfront Aite Park is located on the north shore of Suzhou Creek, a suburban area five kilometers north from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. Earlier in 2014, Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects, in collaboration with URBANUS from Shenzhen, ONE DESIGN and FAN’s STUDIO from Shanghai were commissioned by the local government to do a concept urban design scheme of north Suzhou Creek waterfront.

This suburban area used to be a dump site full of construction waste from adjacent urban development sites. This remains to be an environmental problem without any specific policy nor budget to deal with. The whole team have a good understanding of adjacent environmental problems from preliminary research, so they focused their design proposal on environmental management by suggesting ways of soil remediation and water purification.


Situated in the grey zone between residential area and factories, the site was a dump ground for construction waste, occupied by overgrown and surrounded by dusty trucks. Another serious source of pollution sits at the south, a huge cement plant.

This project was initiated when residents keep complaining about the condition and putting pressure on the government. The government was planning to transport these materials to another place at the beginning. However, Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects and CHORA proposed a totally different strategy: how to deal with the construction waste and how to use the site to screen the trucks and the dust produced by the cement plant?

Under the sustainable concept of reuse and digestion, the park was revitalized through an innovative design approach. The park re-utilized a large amount of existing earthwork to form new topography, and waste materials were packed into galvanized metal gabions and piled up as landscape installations. The design team decided to restore a good resting space and a community park for the neighborhood.

Our design strategy is try to rearrange and reuse all the waste onsite. There is a kind of material that is often used in hydraulic engineering projects called gabion. They used that idea and packed all the stones, tiles and other waste materials into gabions to form a 1 X 1 X 2m building block. They use more than 800 blocks to form a gabion wall on the south side, which is 202-metre long and 5-metre high and is the most iconic feature in this park, shielding this cosy communal space from adjacent cement factories. Three open passages were designed to connect the site with a larger riverfront park at the south, which will be developed as the second phase in the future.

Besides the wall, two 3-4 meters high gabion installations were piled up with the same logic. They formed a kind of contemporary landscape art that echoes the pyramid of ancient civilizations. One of the two platforms was designed for people to climb up and look back at these Monuments of Waste which had been formed in such a short time.

In addition of use the gabions to settle a large amount of stones and tiles, there was still an unexpected amount of earthwork. After years of piling, the landscape seems almost naturally formed. The design team has reshaped these soils to create a natural landscape of the slopes and grasses. To solve the biggest problem of balancing the volume of earthwork, they have to modify the design elevation again and again according to the site condition. Finally, along with a 350-metre long jogging trail, exercise facilities and other gabion installations, this site is successfully turned into a community park, with different scenes in four seasons.

A small pavilion is designed on the square. They use laminated bamboo structure and polycarbonate panels as main material to build a very light structure. The park design has a lot of details: rustic stone finish, paving material and lighting design. They choose large trees to create little shaded environment. For the facilities, seatings were designed by the team and made onsite. To some aspect, they are trying to show their respect to the design of traditional parks a few decades ago. Nowadays, people are used to buy ready-made facilities for public space, but they prefer to design them and build them with the construction workers. They hope the residents will feel the consideration from their design at a human scale.

In China’s rapid urbanization over the past few decades, the disposal of construction waste is a problem that is not very well received by the construction industry. The architects are busy building new houses, but they are helpless about the environmental pollution caused by massive construction. In the construction waste, 98% of the waste is piled up in the open air or simply filled in. And also, the architects’ design strategy against environmental problems, should not be limited to the building technology application. “Architecture” must be redefined as the core values of ecological infrastructure through a wider range of studies with site, community, and urban. And it should arouse all stakeholders the fear of the natural environment to leave the pure land for sustainable development.

Location: Jiading District, Shanghai
Type: Environmental protection/Community park
Site Area: 1.3 hectare
Design Stage: 2014
Construction Stage: 2016

Architects: Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects, CHORA
Concept Design, Design Development: Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects, CHORA
Construction Drawing, Pavilion Design: Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects
Design Principal: Liu Yuyang(ALYA), Raoul Bunschoten(CHORA)
Project Architect/Architect on site: Cao Feile, Wang Jue(ALYA), Henry Jones(CHORA)
Client: Client: Shanghai Jiangqiao Agricultural Development Co.,Ltd.

Structure Consultant: Zhang Zhun
E/M Consultant: Liu Tao, Yan Zhaojun, Gu Qing
Lighting Consultant: UNOLAI DESIGN
Contractor: Shang Nong Landscape and Environmental Construction Company
Main Landscape Material: Gabion, construction waste
Main Pavilion Material: laminated bamboo, polycarbonate panels
Cost: 13,000,000 RMB
Photography: Zhu Siyu, EIICHI KANO, Li Danfeng (see file name)


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