Jiangyin Greenway, China

The project will consist of four clearly identifiable segments, each with a unique response to the spirit of the place in which it is located. The north segment of the loop has already been built and passes through the dockland’s parks. It responds to the history of shipbuilding and its port function. This project, the eastern segment of the loop, leads to the Yangtze River, the river to which Jiangyin owes its existence. Consequently, this segment will respond to the significance of the Yangtze River.

The freeway is lifted off the ground for its entire length of the site. Contrary to what one would think, and thanks to this enlightened engineering decision, the freeway is not a barrier in the city. However, the park in which it sits is not as helpful in keeping the city well connected. In fact, this linear park with its emphasis on a major north-south connection becomes a frustrating barrier to east-west circulation. A careful analysis of desire lines and shortcuts can rejuvenate the park with activity, make the park safer, and make the city more efficient. The stitching paths also ensure that the green way is connected to the rest of the park and to the adjacent streets and pedestrian circulation networks.

The design of this project is a clear and legible response to this path, with: solid and transparent balustrades providing privacy or views; sound walls near the freeway for the comfort of the pedestrians; arbors to provide shade and enclosure; widenings with seating at locations overlooking lakes and canals; landmark bridges with sculptural trusses framing views for pedestrians; stairs located at street intersections to link existing pedestrian paths to the new greenway; and surprising additional programs that make the adjacent city programs work even better. It is said that place is space with memories attached and that memories can’t be attached without articulation.

Consequently the journey along this greenway is articulated with a number of variously scaled events; an Amphitheatre for performances or relaxing on; a raised plaza with permanent sound instruments for all to play; an exercise playground with nets, slides and a gentle climbing ramp for all ages, to name a few – all providing the clarity and legibility to become memorable places. The entire greenway is built in steel and utilizes prefabricated to reduce the impact on the park. A steel structure with a colored bituminous concrete screed gives the greenway both the potential for prefabrication and a durable low-maintenance, long-wearing surface.

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