The site itself is a place of memory on the west bank of Shanghai’s Huangpu River, filled with industrial relics from a couple of decades ago: gigantic oil tanks, pump rooms, fire-fighting pool and so on. This ambitious project aims to transform the visually stunning industrial ruin into a dynamic urban park with art related programs. In the near future, the place will become a living monument for Shanghai’s glorious past as China’s leading industrial city, reincarnated in a totally different form of life.
This urban art park will be composed of three distinctive parts: Super-Surface, Urban Forest and Urban Plazas.
Reflecting the geometries of the industrial landscapes of the site, a metamorphic ‘Super-Surface’ is created to form a new urban ground while connecting all the tanks from underneath. Below the Super-Surface are various public programs, such as galleries, retails and other supporting functions. While above, an open sculpture park will be created to provide unique spatial experience among those giant oil tank volumes.
To the south of the Super-Surface, the Urban Forest stretches over the entire length of the site, connecting the city to its mother-river. Dense tree canopies will shade the ground against Shanghai’s scorching summer sun. Meanwhile, the green isles under the trees bring in another spatial layer, with distinctive landscape features, such as green slopes, playgrounds and sunken water ponds. Sculpture works as well as preserved industrial machines are displayed among or in the isles, turning the forest into a shaded sculpture park.
Between the Super-Surface and Urban Forest are two plazas: Urban Plaza and Event Plaza. With its dimension of 55m X 55m, the Urban Plaza can host large urban ceremonies and festival events. The embedded misting devices in the ground will transform this stone paved plaza into an interesting field covered by fog, while improving its micro climate in hot weather. The Event Plaza is relatively smaller in scale compared to another one. Its grassy surface will be ideal to host private events such as outdoor weddings or parties.
A system of new interventions brightly colored orange, is to be inserted into the existing context, creating strong visual tension between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. The inspiration of which, for most part, comes from the works of great artists such as Michael Heizer and Richard Serra. The characteristic hue of orange, often seen in the anti-rust paint on industrial objects, also subtlety evokes the memories of the local ship-making industry’s glorious past.
Five out of the seven oil tanks on the site will be preserved. Two tanks are to be transformed into art galleries, in different ways though. One will contain a new white cube within to adapt to exhibition needs. The other one, on the contrary, will be kept empty with single skylight above, to display over-sized art pieces. A shared lobby links the two galleries, offering multi-functional public spaces with areas for temporary exhibitions and art shop. The tank at the center of the site with two new rectangular insertions facing the city and the Huangpu River respectively, will be made into a flexible event and exhibition space, and becoming the focal point of the whole park. Finally, two small tanks will house bar and restaurant with sky decks on the top, providing needed service and dynamic urban life to the new art park.