Chongqing is a famous mountain city. It is also called the 5D Magic City because of the countless trend videos and reports which show the huge elevation difference of Chongqing. Chongqing is built by the Yangtze River. At the time when waterway transport and walking were the main means of urban transportation, urban life were relied on the river. Riverside area is the important public activity space for the citizens. The riverside space was gradually occupied by roads, docks and factories as the rapid urbanization of Chongqing.
However, there is a huge elevation difference between the urban living area and the riverside space. Even worse, there is a water-level fluctuation zone formed by the seasonal 30-50 meters of water-level difference each year. As a result, Yangtze River became hard to approach. People have expressed their love and memories of the riverside space during interviews and surveys. But people can hardly get close to the riverside space and cannot stay for a long time.
MYP and Tylin have formed a joint team to participate the competition of the 109-kilometer "Two Rivers and Four Banks" upgrading project which is in the main urban area of Chongqing. The team have successfully won the competition with the design concept of "returning to the Yangtze River" and got the chance to make detail plans for the northern section of the Yangtze River. The Kowloon Bund, as the first completed node of the ten public nodes of "two rivers and four banks", has won unanimous praise from the officials and citizens.
The Kowloon Bund is an important riverfront activity space in the Kowloon Slope District. It has 2.1 kilometers coastline and 46 hectares. However, the residential area and the riverfront space have been separated by the elevation difference and Chengdu-Chongqing railway. Although there are only 100 meters away from the residential area to the riverfront area, the 30-100 meters of elevation difference makes it difficult for people to get close to the riverfront area.
>195 meters is the public square of the city. It is located above the 100-year flood zone. The goal of the city square is to provide a room for people to get connected with each other and the riverfront space as well. First, to build the "bridge ladder" system which can establish the fast connection between the residential area and the riverfront space by crossing the Cheng-Chongqing railway. Second, to transform the large but empty square into a flexible celebration square which opens to the riverfront space.
The whole process includes five measures :(1) Keep the existing trees and increase the green area ratio by 7%.(2) Reduce the vertical artificial facilities and keep to the site simple. (2) Remain the size of 7500 square meters for the main square to ensure that there is enough space even during festivals.(3) Manage the people flow into the riverfront area by the leading big steps which are toward the Yangtze River (4) create more experiential activities to attract people.
191-195m is inside the flood zone. For the safety, this area has been raised and reinforced, and used as the extended space for the commercial streets. The plan proposes to create a sunken plaza by making use of the 5-meter area along the river. This sunken space becomes a public pedestrian which is 2 meters lower than the extended space for the commercial streets. It is also a fitness trail that runs through the whole line along the river. On the one hand, it defines a clear boundary between commercial space and public space; On the other hand, it recreates the traditional steps of Chongqing by changing the way of connection of the side steps. People can get close to the Yangtze River to the greatest extent because of the nine distinctive steps which are directly face toward the river.
From 185m to 195m is the zone that will be inundated occasionally (for about 10 days). The current 10-metre concrete flood wall has separated the riverfront area and the public landscape area. To solve the problem, the plan adopts the latest soil laying technology to build a low-maintenance green wall. It creates a 180-meter long Yangtze River map and enrich the walking experience of the 185-meter walking path. In the big-step area of the main entrance square, the plan creates an iconic node by applying the shape of Kudzu trees (the tree of Chongqing) and the green wall, which adds the landscape and cultural characteristics for the flood wall.
From 175m to 185m is the short-term inundation zone (for about 111 days). Wild plants grow well at current. The plan puts forward the concept of Kowloon Garden. It collects local water tolerant plants and creates nine special botanical gardens. It makes the area become an important place for visitors to enjoy in different seasons.
<175 m is an area that is often flooded and most of it is beach This area tends to have various features due to the different water levels in different years. Instead of the interventions with artificial plants, this plan keeps the original status of the beach to maintain the natural process and remain the possibility of evolution. In the low-water-level stage, the area becomes a recreation and relax place.
Resilient waterfront landscape is the mutual adaptation and evolution of natural process and public life. First of all, it is necessary to establish the order of ecology, society and space, which is the premise of coexistence. Secondly, it is essential to meet the public needs by understanding the local context. Finally, it is required to build the unique spirit of the site.