All images courtesy of Stewart Hollenstein
Australian practice Stewart Hollenstein has proposed a transformation scheme for Shanghai’s North Bund region in China. Presented at the China Australian Urban Forum, the design includes the creation of a new ‘people’s avenue’ through the heart of the North Bund, reclaiming a key street for pedestrian use. The scheme provides a framework for the development of the district and has been described as a catalyst for the transformation of the city at large. Hongkou District, together with Pudong and Huangpu form the three part CBD or ‘Golden Triangle’ of Shanghai.
With the project, Stewart Hollenstein investigates a series of sites within the North Bund or Lower Hongkou District Zone, revealing the potential for a new cultural spine. The creation of this new avenue, invites both locals and visitors to comfortably explore new Public spaces and cultural venues without the need of a car. The thoroughfare not only promotes a cleaner, healthier city, but also creates an atmosphere conducive to business.
The vision seeks to invert the city’s standard development paradigm where public spaces are often an afterthought. Instead, these areas are placed at the heart of the plan, and then framed by development. The architects claim that the proposal has the potential to impact Shanghai in the same way that the bund waterfront and Pudong Financial District did in the past. The plan identifies sites for the location of new cultural venues including a Shanghai food market hall, a contemporary city library and adjacent square, a public theatre with rooftop event space, a contemporary art gallery, and a children’s museum and play-space.
‘Shanghai has an incredible capacity for change, and has the ability to urgently transform itself into a healthy, connected city that makes space for its 25 million inhabitants,’ says Matthias Hollenstein, Director of Stewart Hollenstein. ‘The vision for the ‘people’s avenue’ is one that starts at the scale of the citizen and uses this viewpoint to transform the entire North Bund. The ‘people’s avenue’ forms the backbone to a public domain network designed to be generous, vibrant and integrated with the existing heritage fabric and future cultural and commercial developments.’
‘With the development of many sites in the study area already underway, our proposal presents a new strategy where development and a well-defined public realm support one another,’ adds Felicity Stewart, Director of Stewart Hollenstein. ‘This is not a pattern we are currently seeing in Hongkou district where development has little relationship with the street and is designed on a block by block basis rather than supporting street life.’