Text description provided by the architects. The project finds its location on the top of the No. 1 building in “Jinhuan Huizhi Tiandi”, which positions on Yongdeng Road, Taopu District, Shanghai. Designed by COBBLESTONE, “Jinhuan Huizhi Tiandi” is an industrial economy park that was completed in 2012. This open park comprises of seven single buildings which are in differentiated scales and arranged randomly.
Taking advantage of the turns, breaks and continuities among geometries, this project embodies the bitter struggles of industrial buildings in the urban development. In 2015, design team carried on with the design of indoor offices on the 11th and 12th floors, as well as the roof garden on top of the 12th floor.
Widely different from the modern official park and the indoor offices, the roof garden intends to be far from the madding crowd in the transitory city, to recover the serenity and simplicity in the city, and to create an absolutely peaceful and harmonious atmosphere in a place that is closest to heaven.
Set on top of the 12th floor, the roof garden is surrounded on all four sides by a fence structure with a height of 3.6 m. Therefore, it is almost totally secluded from the outside, and the only opening is up toward the sky. On the left and right sides are vertical stairways and equipment rooms with water tank.
On the north are wood-structured indoor activity rooms and meeting rooms. The roof of the wood structure is covered by shingles that are arranged to form an undulant broken-line surface. In this way, it is not only convenient in drainage, but also efficient in displaying the supporting and jointing components of the wood structure, as well as the classical and economical characteristics.
The indoor activity space and the outdoor garden are connected by a wood-structured portico, in which people can enjoy sightseeing or appreciate the overhead structure, which is really pleasing. Green space and rest space alternate in the garden, dividing the whole space into two scenarios with distinct features: one is serene, the other is open. But these two apparently-separated spaces are actually linked by river systems, which enrich the value of the scenery.
The layered stones in the corner are well arranged to form the skeleton of the garden; altogether, with bamboos and flowering shrubs in the background, colorful Nandina Domestica, Redlowered Loropetalum, and evergreen Cycas Revoluta in the corners, and gnarled tree bonsai at the key points, they compose an elegant and tranquil stone-and-wood garden. The central pond is broad and shallow, paved with pebbles in the bottom and scattered with yellow stones, reflecting the blue sky.
On the borders are plants like Cycas Revoluta, Chinese Pagoda tree and Chinese Jasmine. The water body near the portico is vertically elevated in layers ( with the help of steel plates welded on stilts), not only creating waterfalls landscape, but also coming close to visitors in the portico, thus enhancing the pleasure of space under the portico. With the bamboos encircling the garden, the water body surrounding the platform, activity spaces like stepping stone on water surface, platform and portico clustering around the water body, visitors can find the sceneries in the garden change their aspects at every turn.
Several yellow stones lying on the water, streams coming down the stones, together with flowering trees, waterfalls and fountains, all make the visitors linger here and reluctant to leave. Above the water surface, there is also a wooden platform, on which a few cane chairs and tea couches are placed for visitors to enjoy a rest when they have free time. Big stepping stones connect the garden and the side corridor of the building.
A wooden “moon gate” is set on the east side of the stepping stone. The color of the gate is plain and classic, and the frame of the gate providing an unparalleled picture by bringing together the following elements: round and gnarled tree bonsai, scattering yellow stones and the mirror-like water surface without any ripple. Above the moon gate, there is a wood-structured gazebo extended from the top of the machine room, which provides people with a place to lean over the rail and look at the distance.
The wood panels on the walls and wood floors of the whole wooden structure use brown water based paint coverings, highlighting the elegance and simplicity.
In such a limited space, this garden wonderfully embodies the “secluded” taste with the help of traditional landscape architecture concept —“accumulate, conceal, penetrate, borrow, seclude, twist, scatter and reveal”, using various landscape elements like wood structure, continuous broken-line slope, portico, piled up hills, pavements, plants, ponds and fountain. Different from the aesthetic taste and inherent quality of the official park, the design of the roof garden provides a “nest” for people living in the noisy city.