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Shanghai Binjiang Avenue: Revitalizing the Historic Riverfront with a Human Centered Design Approach

Shanghai Binjiang Avenue: Revitalizing the Historic Riverfront with a Human Centered Design Approach

Fred Kent, the founder of the nonprofit organization Project for Public Spaces, once stated that “If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places." It may sound obvious, nevertheless, our cities today are indeed undergoing a rapid transformation from a car-oriented society to a pedestrian-friendly community.

Shanghai, an Oriental contemporary megacity, is quickly expanding with its fast-growing population. On the other hand, Shanghai is also a city with rich trading history and cultural heritage. Binjiang Avenue, located in the Lujiazui area of Shanghai's Pudong District, stretches about 2500 meters, integrating urban life and environmental protection. In the following, we will take a tour to discover exemplary architectural projects along Binjiang Avenue, and witness how they have revitalized the old waterfront.

Built with Historical Heritage


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Atelier Deshaus' Transforms Shanghai's Riverfront in 3 Cultural Projects

Designed by Original Design Studio, the Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space is the initial stage of the public space development project of the area. It is a benchmark not only for the area but also for the entire 45km long riverside restoration project.

Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Changheng Zhan
Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Changheng Zhan

The architects decided to keep the structures, scratches, and textures as the most genuine, vivid, and sensitive reflection of the site’s history, introducing “specialization” and “materialization” of memory, reflected throughout this project.

Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Shengliang Su
Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space / Original Design Studio. Image © Shengliang Su

The renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf, Shanghai, is an active attempt at spatial reuse.

Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou
Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou

Under the "adaptive reuse" principle, the renovation of industrial heritage should be based on inheriting its historic and cultural value. Therefore, in a new era, as the warehouse is no longer predominantly used for production, there is a need to endow the old structure with a new role in the urban context.

Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou
Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou
Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou
Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou

The building's essential openness is achieved through a suspended exterior escalator (similar to the Centre Pompidou) that both emphasizes the publicness of the project and takes people directly to the top of the building, where there is a view of the Huangpu River.

Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou
Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Laurian Ghintiou

Long Museum West Bund designed by Atelier Deshaus, is located at the bank of Huangpu River, Xuhui District, Shanghai Municipality, a site once used as the wharf for coal transportation.

Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su

The new design features a flowing exhibition space under the overground, a sort of a cast-finish concrete “vault-umbrella” and a “white box” exhibition space on the first underground floor, connected with spiral ladders downward. The parallel tensility highlighting the space, primordial but realistic, and the art exhibition from the ancient, modern, and contemporary periods, has generated a "temporal" exhibition space.

Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shengliang Su

Built with Connectivity

Designed by Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects, Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection combines the old and the new to realize the continuity of spaces, landscapes, and circulations, improving the pedestrian’s experience when entering the waterfront space.

Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian

This is a transformation process that integrates contemporary cities and post-industrial landscapes, an infrastructure that activates waterfront breakpoints and enhances the recreational experience. It is also one of the most unique strategies of space-building in urban construction.

Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian
Shanghai Minsheng Wharf Waterfront Landscape and Reconnection / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects . Image © FangFang Tian

The Bund Finance Centre, jointly designed by Foster + Partners and Heatherwick studio, is a major new mixed-use development, which is set to revitalize Shanghai’s waterfront. Occupying a prominent site on the Bund, the buildings define the 'end point' to Shanghai's most famous street. The 420,000- square meter masterplan is highly permeable for pedestrians, with the design conceived as a point of connection between the old town and the new financial district.

Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Lujiazui Exhibition Centre designed by OMA is located on the northern and most recent development of Shanghai Pudong, along the Huangpu River, one of the most photographed waterfronts in the world. The project site, occupying the former ‘Shanghai Shipyard’, has a long history of marine industry. The new Exhibition Centre is positioned on the ramp of a former ship cradle and provides a concentrated event space within the surrounding financial district.

Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA
Shanghai LuJiaZui Exhibition Centre / OMA. Image Courtesy of OMA

Built with Natural Landscape

Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design
Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design
Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design
Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design

Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park by YIYU design utilized the landscape strategy to create an environmental reflection to its industrial past, and bring nature back to the site. The MOMA museum waterfront served as infrastructure for coal transportation and storage in the past. Nevertheless, the function of the coal industry gradually disappeared in time.

Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design
Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design

Through reusing the existing landscape elements, including the trees, sky, cloud, water, and nature, the designers managed to reshape the new identities of the waterfront. The park mainly is composed of three segments: “the bridge of the trees”, “the pond of the sky”, and “the meadow of the wind”.

Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design
Shanghai MOMA Museum Waterfront Park / YIYU design. Image Courtesy of YIYU design

M2 Tourist Terminal is located near the former site of Expo 2010, Shanghai. It faces the Huangpu River to the north, Mu Zhongshanshui Garden to the west, and Expo Avenue to the south. The project belongs to the Program for Improvement of Huangpu River Public Space.

M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang

Original Design Studio initialized its design from two key assumptions: first, it has to weave itself into the landscape system of Huangpu Riverfront by connecting the existing parks to the west and to the east; second, it intends to open a landscape corridor from the city directly to the waterfront.

M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang
M2 Tourist Port at Bai Lianjing / TJAD Original Design Studio. Image © Yong Zhang

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About this author
Cite: Scarlett Miao. "Shanghai Binjiang Avenue: Revitalizing the Historic Riverfront with a Human Centered Design Approach " 26 Mar 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/959061/shanghai-binjiang-avenue-revitalizing-the-historic-riverfront-with-a-human-centered-design-approach> ISSN 0719-8884

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