As the only connection, between the pedestrian and the sales office, the landscape design of Jing’an Century catalyzes an experience of wandering in nature. The site is located in one of Shanghai’s core central districts and will be developed into residential apartments surrounded by cultural institutions, offices, and commercial developments. The landscape area is only 30x20m right next to busy streets with no natural scenery around. To transform the small yet fully exposed space, landscape design draws inspiration from classical Chinese garden to create the illusion of a larger and greener space with layered plantings and reflective water feature. The designer believes that landscape design should complement the architecture and its context. Natural elements – like forest, river, and light – were presented fitting with the urban aesthetic to celebrate the architecture and to evoke vast imagination beyond with a sense of peace and pleasure.
As the site is relatively compressed and starved for green space, this design leverages its constraints and inspiration to lead to 4 stages of a visiting experience. Much attention was initially given to fostering a strong yet dynamic connection between the building and its landscape, optimizing the layers of curved planters, and composing forced perspectives. Visitors are guided to walk through the choreographed landscape sceneries before entering the sales gallery.
Stage 1 – Arrival
The purpose of the opening stage is to define a stage to celebrate the architecture. To make a compatible impression, the designer expands the architectural visual language by applying a similar material to the feature wall along the public walkway. Two featured walls following the sidewalk leak an opening to bring spatial fluidity to this area as a whole. Thus, the arrival experience not only offers a sense of urban context from the street but also forecasts a surprise factor within the courtyard.
Stage 2 – The Journey
The second experience aims to add a representation of mother nature for the long-term benefit. By leveraging landform, the design creates a multi-dimensional volume of greeneries in such limited space and facilitates the feeling of being in a forest wonderland. As visitors walk into the forest court, they can feel a softer and more relaxed environment with a simple and elegant taste. The planting at the entrance announces the opening and guides people through a meandering waterscape. Moving over halfway, the courtyard gets lightened up by the water reflection engaging visitors to take a closer look at the courtyard.
Stage 3 – Landscape of Senses
At the end of the forest court, the ornamental garden immerses oneself in the beauty of the landscape and creates an illusion of urban escape. With recycled gravel floor and the well-composed perspectives, one becomes aware of the crunching walk underneath, gurgling water around, and the misty forest from afar. Together, the orchestration of light, water, and texture make the space full of peace and mystery.
Stage 4 – Enclose One’s Self
On the west side of the meeting room, a sloped terrain is created to fence off the parking lot. By adding broadleaf plants like Alocasia and Blue Ice Cypress, the designer plays with different tones of greens to enhancing the comforting effect through the outdoor scenery. When chatting in the meeting room, one can get a real sense of nature as the Chinese Tallow trees cast their shimmering shadow on the carpet.
Location: Shanghai, China
Completed Time: 2020
Landscape Architect: TROP: terrains + open space
Design Director: Pok Kobkongsanti
Team: Fusang REN, Kehan ZHOU, Huamei YIN, Tianheng XIONG
Client: YANLORD LAND
Development: Shanghai Renjia Real Estate Development Co. LTD
Photographer: Holi, Fusang REN， Shengliang SU
LDI & SoftscapeDevelopment: GM Landscape Design
Landscape Construction Contractor: Chengguang Landscape
Architect: Tianhua Group
Interior: LWM ARCHITECTS