‘Water Memory’, a proposal by Ayrat Khusnutdinov, Zhang Liheng, and Alexey Bychkov for the Rethinking Shanghai competition, focused on a strategic vision to manifest the undeletable importance of Suzhou creek waterfront to Shanghai. Using existing bridges as the main axis of their development and arranging high-rise commercial areas along them, they created a cohesive system that would connect now fragmented past and recent developments where water wouldn’t divide to play a connective role. More images and architects’ description after the break.
As the mother river of the city and a hotbed of its development, the water here would get back the prominence it had in the pre-industrial era when Shanghai experienced the first stage of its booming development, characterized by a very different use of water – it was main source of prosperity, it brought food, wealth and integrity with it. But as the time went by, the further creation of this wealth brought with it environmental degradation and toxicity – this great waterfront turned out to be a residual urban space.
We also target the concept of multi-centrality which would stimulate a balanced development of Shanghai in the years to come, being a harmonizing counterweight to the recent developments in Pudong area.The program here includes mixed-use commercial, entertainment and housing developments – with a vibrant atmosphere and night life of clubs and restaurants and an easy means of public transport on those axis. We propose a different approach alongside the banks of the creek; here we expect a calm atmosphere with recreational spaces and public buildings such as museums and theaters, we also propose to give a high ratio of its area to the residential program.
Trying to achieve a high level of ecological and social sustainability, we aimed to use high residential density as a backbone of our development, as only high density communities can be truly sustainable, with short commuter distances and high demand of public transport.
Water transport could be of a great value to Shanghai, we articulate Suzhou creek, which runs along the whole city, as a backbone of future Shanghai development, with the major transportation artery connecting city’s outskirts with Pudong, provided by cheap, fast and ecologically responsible means of public water buses and taxies. To create an additional value to this concept we propose additional waterways to go deep into the densest urban areas to the north and south of the creek.
Main system of water treatment in our proposal is a network of water pockets on the banks of Suzhou creek equipped with bio filters, providing natural habitat for a number of different species of fishes and clams. This network is laid out according to a natural flow of water that doesn’t create obstacles to the water transport. Water cleaned and purified here is used right on the spot, providing an excellent area for family recreation, swimming, fishing and numerous water sports – this way we try to encourage people to value water, eliminating the existing gap between society and the waterfront. This enlarged body of water and a very high ratio of the greened area would play a significant role in liquidation of the heat island effect.
This proposal would capitalize the competitive advantage of Shanghai as a world water city of the future – it is on this urban waterfront that the new vision of the future Shanghai is ﬁnding form. This waterfront would be a praised area of the city and a reflection of its public domain, enriching life and offering decency as well as functionality.