A decrepit old industrial riverfront is being repurposed & reconnected for health, beauty and economic revitalization in heart of city

The architects at SPARK have announced the completion of their Minhang Riverfront Regeneration project, which is the initial phase of SPARK’s much wider revitalization master plan of the public space of the Minhang District in Shanghai, China.

The Minhang Riverfront is an ambitious story of urban regeneration. A mere 24 months ago it was a decrepit overgrown riverfront faced by low grade industrial warehouses with remnants of paths, industrial and disused utilities evidence of many years of change and neglect within the district.

Today it has become a vibrant mix of commercial, technology and institutional uses connected by SPARK’s urban park, an open space armature around which existing neighborhoods and buildings have been upgraded…an example of the revitalizing ripple effects documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity.

Lim Wenhui, a Partner at SPARK said, “We were really excited about the potential goals of the project to our imagination to bring new life to the riverfront and provide a safe, attractive environment that invites residents, students, visitors and business people discover the forgotten riverfront and celebrate its rebirth.

SPARK’s design creates a 750 meter long recreational environment that meets the government and community’s desire for a sense of place that facilitates better pedestrian connections and promotes a more sustainable living environment.

SPARK’s design concept used the single cell Diatom as a recurring motif. Diatoms are single cell algae of many beautiful forms that naturally clean water.

They abstracted the Diatom form into two- and three-dimensional objects that animate the river embankment telling the story river and environment in regeneration.

The design of the riverfront includes continuous green ribbons of walking, jogging and bicycle tracks and 3 pedestrian bridges that link the residential, education and business communities together.

The landscape was designed by layering four distinct zones that enhance views create and for the first time accessibility to the river.

The linear zones take on an abstracted riparian form and house innovative pockets of activity with lawns, cafés, a sports park and event plaza.

Stephen Pimbley, another Partner at SPARK said, “The Minhang project exemplifies how urban open space can be a key factor in civic regeneration and social sustainability. It has instilled a sense of civic pride in the district and set a local benchmark for the quality of life for future residents.”

SPARK designed a bespoke wayfinding and furniture strategy that contributes to the storytelling and accessibility of the transformed environment.

All images courtesy of SPARK.

See SPARK Architects website.

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