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Competition: Longgang River, Shenzhen

An international contest has been announced to remasterplan the territory surrounding the 20km-long Longgang River in Shenzhen, China (Deadline: 10 August)

Open to collaborative entries by international and Chinese teams – the three-stage competition seeks innovative proposals to upgrade a 46km2 swathe of land surrounding this historic watercourse which suffers from ecological problems and fragmented riverside development.

The project – backed by the Shenzhen Longgang District People’s Government – aims to transform both sides of the river into a ‘dynamic development belt’ intended to integrate innovative technological, cultural and ecology facilities while also respecting the area’s environmental and architectural context.

Longgang River, Shenzhen

Longgang River, Shenzhen

Source: Image by Bjoertvedt

Longgang River, Shenzhen

According to the brief: ‘Longgang River possesses good ecological background resources and big redevelopment potential of land along the river, with the watercourse comprehensive renovation advanced steadily and culture, technology and innovation resource elements, etc. gathering. However, Longgang River also has problems such as fragmented space, weak ties between riverside open space and urban functions, low ecological quality and lack of unified design of river shoreline.

‘In order to bring into fully play the strategic value of Longgang River and provide citizens of Longgang District with quality urban public space for getting close to nature and recreation, this international consulting hosted by Shenzhen Longgang District People’s Government aims to introduce domestic and foreign high-level design teams to propose urban development ideas and land development models for the line along Longgang River by using innovative design philosophies and conducting high-level planning and design of overall development.’

The Longgang River starts in the Wutong Mountain and flows through Shenzhen City connecting together several key development zones including the University New Town, Baolong Technology City, Longgang Central City, Longgang Laoxu Town, and International Low Carbon City.

Longgang River, Shenzhen

Longgang River, Shenzhen

Source: Image by Sumyantianhon

Longgang River, Shenzhen

The latest project aims to identify an optimal design scheme to enhance the urban landscape of the river, improve land utilization efficiency, guide future development, and respect local history and culture.

Interested teams must first complete a prequalification questionnaire. Participating teams may feature up to three companies including at least one Chinese and one international firm.

A shortlist of four teams will be invited to draw up high-level conceptual plans for a 46km2 area surrounding the river.

Two finalists will then be asked to prepare a detailed design for a 50-hectare‘ core plot’ occupying a 1 kilometre-stretch of the river’s embankment.

The top team chosen to participate in the second round will receive a RMB 2.60 million prize while a second prize of RMB 1.80 million and third prize of RMB 0.90 million will also be awarded.

The overall winner of the third round, to be announced on 25 December, will receive a RMB 2.30 million and the runner-up will take home RMB 1.00 million.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 3pm local time on 10 August

Contact details

Yi Cuilin
Longgang Office of Urban Planning, Land and Resources Commission of Shenzhen Municipality
Room 501
Jianshe Building
No. 2 Xingzheng Road
Longgang Central City
Shenzhen City

Tel: 15521125907, 18028723613
Email: longgangghk@szpl.gov.cn

View the contract notice for more information

Irwell River Park Strategy case study: Q&A with Igor Marko

The co-founder of Marko&Placemakers discusses lessons learned masterplanning the Irwell River in Manchester, England

How did your masterplan create an appropriate masterplan for enhancing the River Irwell in Manchester?

The concept of the new linear park overcomes the decline and fragmentation of the riverfront by transforming the river corridor from a major polluted severance into a spine and focal point at the heart of Greater Manchester. It does this through linking key centres of activity and improving the connectivity of the fragmented and vehicle-dependant city centre, creating new public parks and spaces that will animate the riverside and connect communities across and along the river.

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The masterplan comprises creation and enhancement of 8km of footpaths and cycle routes, eight new footbridges and 10 new or improved public spaces of varying character. An urban design alphabet of components was developed to create a distinct identity for the linear park. This modular kit of parts would be not only visually attractive, but also practical in terms of buildability and maintenance. Its first section, Trafford Wharf Promenade linking to BBC Media City, has been completed, delivering an important circulation loop in Salford Quays and reorienting the Imperial War Museum North towards the riverfront.

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

What advice would you have to contest participants on re-masterplanning the Longgang River in Shenzhen?

The relationship between the city and its river defines its evolution and identity. Following the decline of industry and working docks, many rivers were polluted, forgotten and inaccessible. The 21st century is seeing the revival of river as a place and a focal point of urban life. Conceive of the river as a continuous corridor; creating a series of diverse experiences that can draw activity onto the river and riverfronts that will become a vital resource for the surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as developing a strong identity for the whole region.

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Irwell River Park Strategy by Marko&Placemakers

Guanlan River case study: Q&A with SLAB architecture

The New York practice discusses lessons learned working with local practice NODE Office remasterplanning the Guanlan River in Shenzhen, China

How will your masterplan deliver an appropriate vision for enhancing the Guanlan River corridor?

The Guanlan River corridor is a heavily industrialized area of Shenzhen and home to a large population of migrant workers. However, like many industrialized areas in the city, demand for new development is growing and the area is struggling with this transition away from industry. Through site investigation and speaking with local residents, we found that while a lot of new construction has already happened and even more is planned, these new urban spaces are lacking any sense of structure or community. Quantity has taken precedence over quality.

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Our proposal attempts to weave the urban fabric back together by infilling underused sites with essential public facilities intended to act as anchors for new hybrid communities. Common urban renewal features like open spaces and recreational and cultural facilities are paired with markets, trade schools, and community centres with the goal of finding combinations attractive to young professionals wanting to raise a family while providing opportunities for migrant workers to bootstrap themselves to the new economic reality of Shenzhen.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

We relied heavily on collage throughout the design process for the Guanlan River master plan. At SLAB, collage is a common tool for quick design studies and mock-ups, but rarely used outside of internal reviews. However, we thought the fractured nature of the site presented a great opportunity to use collage as a presentation tool, illustrating how new features could be inserted into the existing development to create a rich urban environment.

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

What advice would you have to contest participants on re-masterplanning the Longgang River in Shenzhen?

International firms should pair themselves with a local partner. We’ve found China to be a richly textured place, but much of that has been papered over by the massive building effort of the past several decades. A strong relationship with a local partner makes it easier to push those layers aside and expose the energy bubbling beneath the surface. The Guanlan River master plan is one of several China projects we’ve done in partnership with Shenzhen-based NODE Office.

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office

Guanlan River masterplan by SLAB architecture and NODE Office