beyond the picturesque
Kunshan has built a great amount of city parkland over the past decade. Most are pictur¬esque and program free. While these parks have enhanced the city’s image, they are not highly popular and have not increased the citizens’ quality of life. BAU believes some sites within this passive park network should become places of intense activity, providing programs for all citizens: young and old, rich and poor, occupied and idle, locals and visitors.
BAU argued that intense programs of hospitality, nature and sports, would make the park an attractive destination for many. By utiliz¬ing a networks city approach each program theme can be found in all parts of the site, AND, each program can be a continuous zone allowing endless circulation of the visitor. They are organized to pro¬vide visitors with a choice of programmatic experiences. A sports enthusiast can navigate the park in environments dominated by sports activities; a pedestrian can promenade in a network which passes all restaurants, plazas and commercial activities; a nature lover can wander through a relatively passive, sensuous, green network. Inter¬estingly each program theme frequently overlaps other program themes, resulting in mixed use, and hybrid program areas.
The path in this zone is a zigzagging timber boardwalk. It passes along the river edge, the most intense place of nature, as well as through many of the site’s existing tree stands.
Where it overlaps the sports network we can find fishing platforms or sports courts sur¬rounded in lush green. Where it overlaps the hospitality network, we find open picnic lawns or places to sit and relax. Where it crosses the nature network (itself) it becomes pure nature and results in a soft river edges or dense lush plantings.
The nature network has an undulating topography. It is quietly lit at night. It accommodates storm water retention ponds which cleans the site’s rain run-off.
The path in this zone is a rubber running track. The zone includes the elevated walkway.
Where it overlaps the hospitality network there are spaces for spectators and gatherings, with picnic tables and chairs. Where it over laps the nature network we find sports courts surrounded in quiet green. Where it is crosses sports network (itself), the area is intense with various sports activities.
The path in this zone is relaxed and curving. It frequently widens to provide a variety of pla¬zas from intimate to large, each with seating opportunities. The leisure network absorbs each of the restaurant/café/bars.
Where it overlaps the sports network there are sports facilities adjacent to leisure facilities such as plazas and BBQ areas. Where it overlaps the green network we find picnic lawns or places to sit and relax.
Swimming Pool: This falls into the sports network and hospitality network. The outdoor swimming pool is adjacent to a beach volleyball court. A bar/café/restaurant overlooks the outdoor pool and the indoor pool from the second floor. It connects to the elevated walkway. The indoor pool is kept open and elegant by situating the changing rooms in the basement.
Sports Hall: This falls into the sports and hospitality network. It incorporates a hall large enough for a basketball court. A bar/café/restaurant is situated within the building and connects to the second floor elevated walkway.
Towers: These buildings provide flexible space. It is assumed that the first and second floors will be bar/café/restaurants, as they connect to the ground level landscape and to the elevated walkway on second floor. The rest of the building could also have hospi¬tality use as they have excellent views south over the river and to the surrounding landscape. They towers could also accommodate office studios. The ground floor spaces are influenced by the network program they fall within. Some are immersed in green, others by sports, and others in plaza spaces. These provide innovative environments for the bar/café/restaurants.
Fitness Club: All floors of this building are connected by continuous ramps. It is a sports building. All fitness activities can be within view of the park and can spill outside onto its terraces.
Pagoda: The pagoda signals a memory of the legendary white capped pagoda. It provides a viewing opportunity and health activity for visitors.