Young Bird Plan has launched an international contest to design an innovative walking route in the Suzhou Dayang Mountain National Forest Park in China (Deadline: 7 October)
The contest, which is open to both students and professionals, seeks ‘creative and suitable’ proposals for an accessible walking network within the dramatic 1,000ha park which is surrounded by the Suzhou industrial zone on the fringes of Shanghai.
The project, backed by Suzhou New District and Vanke Group, aims to boost connections within the rapidly growing city and boost the quality of life for local inhabitants. Three winning schemes will be considered for further development.
Dayang Mountain in Suzhou, China
According to the brief: ‘The system shall be able to transform the site into an interconnected urban area, improve spatial connectivity and qualities based on different users’ practical needs for better life. The scheme shall also be feasible and practicable, which can consolidate the brand image of Dayang Mountain, and enhance its spatial competitiveness in the city.
‘This competition challenges creative minds to envision a slow traffic system within the Dayang Mountain National Forest Park and its eastern neighbourhood until Jian Lin Road. The site contains a mix of residential, commercial, and tourism uses. These places need to be integrated and energized by a scheme, in order to elevate the qualities of spaces and people’s life, strengthen the connections between different functions, and uncover the potential values of the local area.’
Suzhou New District is a major industrial settlement around 80km west of central Shanghai. The 52km2 city was founded in 1992 and today hosts numerous consumer electronics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals industries.
Located around 10km from downtown Suzhou, Dayang Mountain is a local natural landmark and green recreational space for the city. The mountain is mostly covered in trees but also features the historic Wenshu Temple and Moya Stone Carving.
Dayang Mountain in Suzhou, China
The latest project aims to provide local residents with a healthy and functional walking infrastructure, which also boosts connectivity between residential, commercial and tourism areas.
Submissions may be in English or Chinese and should feature three A2-sized presentation boards. Applications will be judged on their respect for local history and culture, creativity, inclusivity and traffic flow for different users.
One overall winner will receive RMB 100,000 and two runners-up will each receive RMB 20,000. The top three schemes will all be adopted by the local government as the project moves forward.
Ten additional winners will also each receive RMB 10,000 and be invited to design an RMB 80,000 sculptural installation.
How to apply
Submissions must be completed by 7 October
Q&A with Isa Ye
The founder of Young Bird Plan and jury member discusses her ambitions for the contest
Why are your holding an international contest for a slow traffic system within the Suzhou Dayang Mountain National Forest Park?
As ‘the green lung for the city,’ Suzhou Dayang Mountain National Forest Park features various tourist attractions, including Wenshu Temple and Moya Stone Carving, providing abundant and enjoyable experience for all walkers. However, different functional parts in this site are separate and have weak connections. Some needs of users like cycling fanatics and local fruit farmers are not satisfied. And the site’s more potential values are still buried. That’s why we need a slow traffic system to solve all these current problems. It is also a chance for global designers to creatively utilise the local resources, devise a meaningful scheme, and show their talents.
What is your vision for the new traffic system?
A system which is creative, practicable, artistic and sustainable with an accurate traffic flow; satisfies different user requirements; connects to the city and its surrounding areas; respects the context, including local culture, history, land, and dwellers, is what we hope to see. A scheme shall be envisioned within the Dayang Mountain National Forest Park which covers an area of 1,029.8 hectares with 88.64 per cent of forest-cover, and its eastern neighbourhood until Jian Lin Road. The site contains a mix of residential, commercial, and tourism uses. These places need to be integrated and energized by a scheme, in order to elevate the qualities of spaces and people’s life, strengthen the connections between different functions, and uncover the potential values of the local area.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
We are looking for designers and design enthusiasts of all ages and nationalities across the world to take part in this competition. There is no rule to compel international teams to collaborate with local firms. Winners will retain the rights of authorship.
China Fuzhou Jin Niu Shan Trans-urban Connector by Look Architects
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
Young Bird Plan has also launched an industrial design-related competition named Matrix Modular Office Furniture International Design Competition, which is open to all designers. Another architectural competition about village revitalisation is coming soon. Winning entries will be realised, too.
Are there any other recent slow traffic system projects you have been impressed by?
There are a lot of impressive slow traffic system projects, including Concept Design for Qianhai Monument Landscape Island (third prize) by reMIX studio, which is carefully wired into the overall circulation and ecologic networks of its context. Lawns, freshwater wetlands and mangroves provide various landscape elements to a number of diverse public spaces; Riverwalk Masterplan on Industrial Site at Oregon’s Willamette Falls by Snøhetta in 2017, which calls for the reutilisation and augmentation of existing industrial structures on the 22-acre site, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the falls and its rugged basalt shoreline and reconnecting Oregon City to its historic waterfront; China Fuzhou Jin Niu Shan Trans-urban Connector by Look Architects in 2017, which is a signature urban connector network that provides public accessibility to indigenous hinterland and signifies an awakened consciousness to improve lives of city dwellers by bringing nature within closer reach.