Often, densely populated modern cities lack vegetation, with their outdated city parks hidden within a perimeter outside residential areas, at the most. Guided by the local context and culture, contemporary architects and landscape practices seek to revitalize urban environments with structures that are designed to incorporate natural ecosystems.
Singapore-based architectural practice WOHA, headed by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell, has completed an incubator of emerging local designers that features a high-profile retail space at the ground level and co-working creative spaces on the upper floors. Aptly named Design Orchard, the building appears to be a green oasis in the urban environment. The architects have chosen to bring greenery into their project through creating a rooftop space, which is tiered to form an urban amphitheater and a shaded pocket park.
The choice of materials includes a clean and modern palette of raw concrete, glass and timber, with lush vegetation as a backdrop. The concrete walls include circular openings that provides natural lighting and ventilation, offering views for the visitors. The apertures can even be used as retail displays without affecting structural integrity of the space.
The Design Orchard not only provide young designers with creative and nurturing environment, but allows marketing their products at retail spaces below as well as showcasing them at design events that could be hosted at the rooftop garden amphitheatre.
The winning project for a cultural complex in Shenzhen’s Loggang district by Beijing-based architecture practice URBANUS comprises a design that takes full advantage of the site’s topography and landscape. Aming to create a new open public space, it brings more greenery to the cityscape. The brief outlined by the local authorities called for a new art centre to be built in Banxuegang Science and Technology city, primarily known as the headquarters of technology firm Huawei. URBANUS responded with a concept of the new art centre fully integrated with a city park that will allow its visitors to enjoy various entertainments and cultural activities.
The main buildings accommodate a theatre complex and a science and art museum that become an extension of the park’s public path and form the daily system of active public space for the residents. The 1,600-seat grand theater will be joined by a black box theater and a public art center that appear as separate volumes on the roof canopy. Open 24 hours a day, an inner street connects the scheme and provides access to the rooftop square.
The multi-purpose art gallery is also oriented towards the park, its exhibition hall on the upper level offering views across the undulating landscape. The team explains that the art centre would intertwine displays of technology, cultural space and nature together to provide a unique spatial experience for the neighborhood.
Riken Yamamoto & FIELDSHOP, a Yokohama-based architecture practice with branches in Zürich and Beijing, has won an international competition to design the Taoyuan Museum of Art in Taiwan. The design encompasses two buildings with functional green inclined roofs connected with a corridor raised above the ground. The green roofs were conceived to create a continuity with the site’s environment including the rich nature in the Blue Pond park the building faces.
As the residential community around the museum is planned to be transformed into an artist village in the future, the architects aimed at creating a place for various leisure and recreational activities, not unlike a theme park where every visit leads to new discoveries.
The structure is divided into three parts, each of them corresponding to its own function and is an independent entertainment space. ‘The Cube’ contains the permanent exhibition and collections; ‘the In-Between’ hosts installations and workshops; while ‘the Hill’, with its white cubic terraces for displaying artworks, serves as a place of attraction and connection between various activities and places. An inclined lift is implemented to connect the spaces.
As ‘the Hill’ may be also used as an outside theatre and the Art Plaza is designed to host performances, bleachers are provided for the visitors. Multipurpose boxes are introduced for artists to sell their works and hold exhibitions.