The Beijing Zhongguancun Avenue Urban Belt Park Renovation Project transformed an outdated inaccessible streetside green buffer into a pedestrian-friendly, ecological, social public space.
The first phase of the project has been completed in the end of 2022, connecting multiple properties of various usage in a span of one kilometer.
Zhongguancun Avenue, formerly known as “Baiyi Road”, was the only historic path preserved for the Royals of Qing Dynasty to travel to the Summer Palace. Nowadays, this street is connected with well-known landmarks such as Tsinghua University, National Library of China, Zhongguancun High Tech District, etc. It is not only a street, but also seen as a symbol of wisdom and technology.
1. pedestrian didn’t have the right of way and unwalkable space
2. damaged ecology due to undermaintained plantings and old infrastructure.
3. very little occupiable space/programs
4. lack of integration of culture and history
1. Restore the ecology
The original big trees are mostly kept, creating a continuous and undulating green shade at urban street scale while offering a cool and pleasant walking experience at human scale. By descending the planters to the ground level and removing chaotic shrubs, the planting area allows more runoff and rainwater to come in. Therefore, the dysfunctional drainage infrastructure is not easily overloaded anymore.
2. Prioritize the pedestrian
The parking space along the curb is relocated so that the space along the street, including sidewalks, is returned to bicycles and pedestrians. The introduction of new 3-meter-wide greenway also changed the space from “car-oriented” to “people-oriented”. New seating bench are placed in certain distance to allow pedestrians to have opportunity to take a rest.
3. Weave the scattered pocket space
After the renovation, the original dead pocket spaces in different scales are activated again by inserting a central promenade. The previous inaccessible green space, abandoned squares, dilapidated seats are revitalized in a more modern, simple, and inclusive way. It provides a friendly environment for the surrounding residents, work, entrepreneurship, and shoppers to stay, chill, meet and interact. It not only reconnects the scattered space, but also inspires people’s lifestyle and social vitality.
4. Rebuilt the identity
The rebuild of Royal Path reminds the public of the history and the culture of the site. Meanwhile, the integration of advanced technologies such as solar panel recycle bins, sustainable outdoor workstation and interactive lighting fixtures, etc. The project also creates a physical outdoor space to showcase new technology, new products, for high-tech enterprises in the district. These features are able to highlight the identity of Zhongguancun Avenue – innovation.
During the design process, we insist that the redesign is for people. Through many surveys, community meetings and other feedbacks, we fully understand the demands of nearby residents, enterprises and scientific research institutes so that at the end, everyone could feel him/herself as a key partner of our living urban environment.
Location: Zhongguancun South Avenue, Haidian District, Beijing, China
Design year: 2020
Year Completed: 2022