Sasaki Transform the Yangtze Waterfront with Flood-Friendly Masterplan

Sasaki has released details of their redevelopment proposal for the Yangtze Riverfront Park in Wuhan, China. Developed in collaboration with OMA and Gensler, Sasaki has drawn on the centuries-old symbiosis between the city and river, leveraging the river’s dynamic flooding to nurture a rich regional ecology and create dynamic recreational experiences.

The endeavor in landscape urbanism seeks to celebrate the river’s spontaneity, and incorporate flooding as an essential element. Stitching together then OMA and Gensler “urban balconies,” a series of microenvironments will host a wide variety of distinct wetland ecosystems, the characters of which evolve throughout the seasons.

Sasaki Transform the Yangtze Waterfront with Flood-Friendly Masterplan - More Images+ 16

The vibrant morning market at Sanyang plaza celebrates the diversity of it surrounding neighborhoods. . Image Courtesy of Sasaki

As the longest river in Asia, and draining one-fifth of China’s land area, the Yangtze is revered as the “mother river,” nourishing Chinese culture, history, and economy for thousands of years. Driven by its relationship with the Yangtze for 1800 years, Wuhan has become central China’s largest city, with every significant milestone throughout the city’s history tied to the river. As the city transforms into a hotbed of technology, education, and innovation, Sasaki’s scheme strives to embrace the river following a century of industrial exploitation.

The decommissioned freight train ferry terminal is an example of adaptive reuse which offers new experiences while referencing the industrial legacy of the waterfront.. Image Courtesy of Sasaki

In embracing the waterfront, Sasaki’s scheme taps into the “river culture” of Wuhan, where people frequent riverfront parks even when they are flooded, thus enjoying intimate contact with the water. With strategic dredging and grading, the design creates microenvironments hosting a variety of wetland systems, while nuanced topography and natural water level fluctuations allow for a rich community of plants to grow.

When water levels are low, the park reveals its former industrial heritage and offers a unique waterfront experience.. Image Courtesy of Sasaki

A series of sinuous secondary schemes emerge from the mudflats at mid-high water levels to permit alternative routes for aquatic wildlife, as well as safe corridors for kayaking. During dry months, these stream beds function as informal pathways for visitors to explore. Other recreational spaces are arranged based on careful calculations for dispersing distances for wildlife species, so humans do not intrude on their natural environment. This facilitation of wildlife also includes logs for turtles to loaf on, submerged fish structures, waterfowl nesting platforms, and discreet birding stations.

Flexible art and performance spaces promote public understanding and appreciation of river dynamics. Image Courtesy of Sasaki

The rich industrial history of Wuhan is also celebrated, with historic landmarks highlighted throughout the park. Although largely abandoned, the site’s massive railyards and remnants of freight train ferry terminals hold a strong presence, and hence are repurposed for the Sasaki scheme. Vibrant waterfront hubs, cultural and recreational spaces, floating plazas, and a floating community garden all serve to create a uniquely dynamic, active civic area, activating heavy-duty infrastructure.

The promenade is designed to rise and fall with the river where floodable plazas reveal themselves to accommodate a variety of uses when water levels are low.. Image Courtesy of Sasaki

Where the Yangtze and Han rivers meet, at the iconic “Tip of China,” the Museum of the Yangtze rises among the distinct color divide created by the abrupt clash of the two bodies of water. Sitting among the river levees, the museum offers an uninterrupted panorama of the Wuhan waterfront and burgeoning skyline.

The “Tip of China” is an iconic cultural space where the Yangtze and the Han rivers converge. Image Courtesy of Sasaki

In an effort to democratize the design process, a web-based outreach effort resulted in 65,000 public comments, which were used to inform various design iterations. Local civic groups also organized a series of public meetings and site tours to promote are for the river’s landscape.

The park provides an ecologically diverse foreground to Wuhan’s riverfront skyline. . Image Courtesy of Sasaki

News of the scheme follows shortly after Sasaki unveiled proposals for a Panda Reserve in Chengdu, and the Hongkou soccer stadium in Shanghai.

News via: Sasaki

Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "Sasaki Transform the Yangtze Waterfront with Flood-Friendly Masterplan" 31 Jan 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

The Yangzte Riverfront is an integral part of Wuhan’s open space network, and is designed to celebrate the river’s spontaneity.. Image Courtesy of Sasaki


You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.