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Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

China Architecture News - Aug 27, 2021 - 13:48   2256 views

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Beijing and Frankfurt-based architecture studio Crossboundaries has designed a community park activated by perforated great brick walls and a yellow track that complements functional and visual coherence within the park in Xiaopu Village, Songzhuang, Tongzhou, Beijing, China.

Named Songzhuang Micro Community Park, the 5,900-square-metre project was realized as part of a masterplan competition for the new model of “Art City” organized in 2018. 

The main goal of the project was create versatile and inclusive communal facilities, offering a new public park that meets the needs of the local community while increase engagement. 

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

In this framework, Crossboundaries was commissioned to regenerate a linear streetscape adjacent to a parking lot close to the Xiaopu Cultural Plaza into a lively outdoor community park. This project is the first realized vibrant design of many to come that will follow the lead of the new communal spirit.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Location dynamics of art clusters in the Chinese capital

Beijing’s rapid economic transition, unique political atmosphere and immense urban growth have shaped a trajectory of prominence of art villages in its metropolitan region from the 1900s. Its origins can be traced back to Yuanmingyuan, the grounds of the Old Summer Palace in the north-east of Beijing, where artist settled from all over China celebrating a creative community and period of intense artistic exploration. After this movement ended in 1994 many collective groups were constantly replicated around this urban fringe outside of the third ring, namely Factory 798, Caochandi and Songzhuang Art District. 

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

The latter one has seen the largest development in recent years, with more than 5,000 artists living in its grounds and 35 large and medium-sized fine arts galleries, it is certainly one of the largest gathering of contemporary artists in China if not in the world. Centered in the village around Xiaopu, in Songzhuang Town of Tongzhou District, the major factors influencing this location were escaping from the fast-paced city and pressures of modern society while living side-by-side with the local population; this odd combination of art visitors and an aging population created an interesting scenario, where each group has their own needs for public spaces.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

The park is created to suit the site environment with a proper choice of material and plantation, combined with carefully designed spatial configuration, sequence, and atmosphere. 

The main component of the structure is a perforated grey brick wall with integrated seating in designated areas, alternating with a double lower layer of perforated corten steel. 

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Behind it lies a green zone filled with Southern Chinese pine trees and low bushes, forming a natural buffer to the parking area that can be accessed through various hidden pathways.

On the street side, long planters framed with Corten steel edges contain Persian Silk trees, they form a natural separation from the busier road to the public area, which acknowledges the new addition to the site combined with the existing and preserved more mature trees (Chinese Locust trees) embedded within the re-used pavement stones.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

The L-shaped plot features a series of outdoor ‘rooms’ that provide unrestricted usage and trigger a variety of activities along a linear loop track, a connecting element meandering between the street side pavement and the park at a pocket of the site. The yellow track connects the rooms physically with each other, as well as forms a visual link between the different public areas. 

The path is leading all the way into and through the small park area, which depicts a more natural landscape with London plane and Ginkgo trees in contrast to the organized promenade in the front. Linked by the yellow track, these rooms offer different levels of enclosure and boundary along a sequence: from completely open, forming a plaza like a prelude, to a slightly more defined area with a semitransparent grey backing wall, to a fully enclosed one but open to the sky, and finally a less strictly defined one within the new park zone, where only the ground surface marking its expanse.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

A day through the life of the different scenarios

Transforming the initial street corner into a small plaza, the first room opens up a semicircular space defined by angular brick walls and large mirror surfaces. In the morning, it’s a place for tai chi and fan dance, while in the evening, it attracts groups of rhythmic dancers. The occasional dog owners with their beloved pets are seen along the bright yellow asphalt loop that connects the rooms.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

The second room is a place for tranquil interactions: long benches along the stepping profiles of interspersed brick walls invite Chinese chess players and their audience; groups of elderly ladies chat in the shadow of the trees; grandparents looking kindly after babies. 

On the weekends, younger people take selfies in front of the grey brick and Corten steel backdrop with drinks from the café across the road.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

On the corner to the extending park, the third room is all about children’s play: a bright yellow room inside a room; layered brick walls with differently sized openings for peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek; connecting speaking tubes through which shouting and singing can be heard. In front of it, grandparents, parents, and other caretakers can watch the children play from a distance.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Inside the rectangle of the park, the yellow loop track itself spans up the fourth room, increasing in size to an open-air gym, an exercise space in the middle of green meadows. Between the sports equipment and the circular seating, all community members find their own place.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

"The community park has proven a great success in bringing the district government agenda and investment plans together with a way of living that strengthen its own authentic heritage as a place for collective art and influence," said Dong Hao, Crossboundaries’ co-founder.

The streetscape meets with responding to different people’s needs: the inclusive nature of the design, its variety of inviting, bright spaces with colorful accents was adopted and occupied instantly and stands for a true example for integration and encouragement of interaction for all age groups.

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Furthermore, Songzhuang Micro Community Park helps growing the largest gathering place for artists in China in a symbiotic relationship together with the community. 

"It is an important milestone in the Songzhuang Xiaopu Art Zone Urban Design development, said Binke Lenhardt, co-founder of Crossboundaries, being the first executed project of the masterplan and a valuable example of quality public space for well-being and social encounter."

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Chaoying Yang

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Chaoying Yang

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Chaoying Yang

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Chaoying Yang

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Chaoying Yang

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Chaoying Yang

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Image © Yu Bai

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Site diagram

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Master Plan

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Axonometric view

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Comic

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Comic

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Comic

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Comic

Crossboundaries designs community park with perforated grey brick walls and yellow track in Beijing

Section

Project facts

Project name: Songzhuang Micro Community Park

Location: Xiaopu Village, Songzhuang, Tongzhou, Beijing, China

Client: Beijing Songzhuang Investment Development Co., Ltd

Size: 5900 m2

Design period: May to October 2020

Construction period: October 2020 to June 2021

Completion date: June 2021

Architect: Crossboundaries, Beijing, China

Partners in charge: Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao

Design team: GAO Yang, Silvia Campi, CHEN Pengyu, Marijana Simic, Sean Yu, YU Hongyu, Elena Gamez Miguelez

Construction Company: Beijing Songzhuang Xinjing Landscape Engineering Co., Ltd

Top image © Yu Bai

All images © Chaoying Yang, Yu Bai

All drawings © Crossboundaries

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