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The Urban Gallery at Hyperlane, Chengdu

The Hyperlane is a 2.4km multi-level linear sky park, and aims to be a social-orientated, pocket place for the community to come together. The vision was to create a hyper connective, multiple level linear social platform that responded to the unique and characteristics of the students. The design connects in every direction, creating a barrier free sky park and pedestrian network. It stretches over 2.4km, linking the new Chengdu fast train station to the university while allowing for direct north/south permeability from the student accommodation to the university campus.

The Urban Gallery, first phase of the project, is defined by the singular unifying expression of ‘community’ and ‘connection’, the urban gallery exhibits a layered circular form playfully morphs, transforms and adapts to the varying functions and experiences of the place; from the urban promenade along the street edge, to the water carpet which acts as a threshold arrival scene to the space, to the performance gallery and the community terrace and the small social seating pods nestled intimately within the planting. It is indeed a social experiential place and point of community connection that supports the youthful creative arts and music culture.

Nevertheless, the site was in fact formally a series of derelict spaces and used for unplanned parking, which offered zero social or environmental value to the area. The perimeter walls resulted in the student accommodation area being physically and socially disconnected from the music campus, with only a small number of narrow degraded alleyways allowing access. Despite of the existing condition, it was these alleyways, crammed with life, people and food sellers that offered a clue to the creative and artistic energy that laid under the surface of the community. Each alleyway was an expression of the students; the walls displayed bold and vibrant urban art and graffiti.

The resulting urban gallery consists of both a curatable and a permanent programme. The urban promenade consists of a network of connective walkways planters and multidirectional social seating that combined acts as a fringe and buffer to the main road set within a layer of trees. Whereas the ‘water Carpet’ is designed to allow for visual connectivity whilst creating an interactive & mesmerizing sense of arrival, as well as a place for people of all ages to play at the water’s edge or relax on the seating nodes in shade of the trees. To add more interesting elements into the design, the design developed a number of bespoke lighting features that playfully bring a unique quality to the daytime and night time experience. A submersed, double layer detail was developed that ensures visual control and clarity of line and illuminates the water’s edge. On the other hand, the Performance Gallery is designed to be a curatable urban catwalk, a vibrant exterior space that works in combination with the interior programme to encourage impromptu performances, arts exhibitions, cultural gatherings and open-air theatre. Enclosed to the east is the sculptural terrace deck which is orientated to allow onlookers to gather in the shade of the trees to watch performances or to meetup and connect. The lighting and edge display of perforated steel creates a unique and vibrant night-time atmosphere and effect, providing a safe, well-illuminated 24-hour space. The combination of shallow water, playful edges, lighting displays, textural contrast and planting offer a visual and physical theatrical experience and journey, between the urban promenade and the performance gallery.

The design was founded on the principle of creating a balanced system that responds to both the humanistic and environmental needs of the project. A series of youth community-oriented networks, connections, social spaces, performance, and creative arts progammes and activities interplay along the entire length. The project brings nature and natural systems into the heart of the design, so planting species selected are predominantly local and look to encourage insects, birds and wildlife to the urban corridor. Each layer of the design responds to the adjacent demographic, providing both recreational space, connective network, cultural and exhibition areas and place for people to connect, gather and simply hang out.

Lastly, the Urban Gallery represents the new age and mindset of commercial development, one that stems from a clear understating that the success of a development isn’t defined by short term commercial gains, but with attention to socially and environmentally orientated experiences that add meaningful value, experience and delight to the lives of the community. When completed, Hyperlane will provide a valuable contribution to the local urban environment that considers human comfort, safety, accessibility, scale, programme equality and diversity that brings a bold injection of vibrancy to the daily lives of all the creative and arts community.

Landscape Design Team: Stephen Buckle (Studio Director of ASPECT Studios), Yan Luo, Sam Xu, Alex Cunanan de Dios, Morey Zhou, Iris Di

Dios, Morey Zhou, Iris Di,

Client – Chengdu Xinding Real Estate Co.,Ltd.

Architecture offices involved in the design: Principle: Dr. Andy Wen (Global Design Principle of Aedas)

Lighting: Brandston Partnership Inc.

LDI: BW Landscape Design

Contractor: Chengdu First Construction Engineering Co., Ltd. of CDCEG

Photography: Lu Bing

Rendering: ASPECT Studios, Aedas

Project location: 600 Xueyuan Rd East, Xindu District, Chengdu, China

Design year: 2019

Year Built: 2020

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