Oriental One is a new luxury development of ten distinctive towers containing 547 residential units and 4,595m2 of commercial space. They benefit from large communal courtyards, water features, roof gardens and a beautiful streetscape.

Vanke started by investigating their target customer group, looking at their priorities for outdoor spaces. At the same time, field research into the needs of surrounding residents helped to define the functional requirements of new local urban public space.

Based on the research, Vanke drew up a brief: to create a landscape that would foster a sense of community in this new development, enhance the street-level shops and restaurants, and combine China’s heritage and traditional local customs with modern international lifestyles. The area needed to celebrate local Shanghai culture and China’s historical change and development.

The design team of Vanke, Landau and Gillespies examined how English gardens have evolved from traditional and rigidly formal to modern and informal: planned by and for people, but still looking natural.

The designers assessed the local climate, the aspect and outlook from the residential units, and the active transport needs of residents. Challenges included local fire safety requirements, constraints imposed by the shapes of the towers, and limited soil depth. Team members collaborated on design drawings, and cooperated to define materials, plants, sculptures and signs for a striking blend of China’s landscape heritage with a modern English approach to garden science and design.

The two building plots are linked by a landscape of lush planting and wide pavements. The central area is in the shape of a fan, a strong reminder of China’s heritage. Plant species were selected with a strong relationship to Shanghai’s unique history. For example, while the hibiscus was first introduced from China to the west, it is now less common in Chinese garden design, and the most popular varieties are those which have been imported. We are reviving the original local varieties. Other plants have cultural meanings: camellia, daphne, crab-apple and magnolia represent the key dates of the Jiangnan region in the traditional Chinese ‘24 solar terms’.

Sustainability is built in. Solar photovoltaic panels power the lighting which creates a delightful theatrical experience at dusk and into the evenings. Hard landscaping stone was sourced locally. The planting palette defined a healthy mix of native and adopted species carefully sourced from local nurseries to suit the conditions. For example, perennial flowers with shallow root systems were selected for the dry, sunny conditions and minimal soil depth of the roof gardens.

With a total site footprint of 19651.2m2, the complex has an astonishing 18,650m2 of landscaping. To get this remarkable green area ratio, the design included small ponds and pots, shallow soil-covered planting media, and carefully specified plants to provide wind-breaks in the attractive roof gardens.

Oriental One boasts a richly-planted central garden on the ground level, surrounded by an elevated promenade and series of gardens on the podium rooftop. Below these a sunken courtyard with rich woodland planting creates a unique setting for a residents’ clubhouse. A winding path through the courtyard offers a peaceful refuge for reflection and wellbeing. The elevated promenade features groups of seating as well as extensive planting in the form of resident’s gardens nestled between the towers. Several viewing points offer a visual connection to the streetscape below and the city skyline beyond. Another promenade connects the secluded garden rooms, and links the towers with the club’s central reception area. These spaces are fully accessible, and create a sense of serenity, despite being so near the bustle of the city.

A new streetscape at the boundary provides a soft green setting for the development, and connects it to the surrounding neighbourhoods. The planting enhances ground-level shops and restaurants, while filtering out noise and pollution from adjacent streets. Pocket gardens with water features and large blocks of planting provide sheltered meeting spots for local residents. Each pocket garden has its own identity, reinforced by the planting character, encouraging a varied programme of active and passive recreation for children and adults. Numerous new nectar plants and fruit trees support pollinators, and play an important part in the district’s biodiversity network.

This new public space enhances the neighbourhood’s green amenities and ecology network. The design encourages sustainable transport and physical activity, with all-weather walking routes and allocated places for exercise.

Oriental One’s goal is to establish and nurture a welcoming series of open spaces for occupants and visitors. The natural surroundings of the landscape foster a sense of community and socially integrate different user groups, families, individuals and senior citizens.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape:
Landau Design
GM Landscape
Endless Summer Landscape Design

Architecture offices involved in the design:

Location: Baoshan Road district, Shanghai, China

Design year: 2017-2021

Year Completed: 2022


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