PENGZHOU / Jianjiang Valley
Agence Ter’s masterplan for the Jianjiang Valley is structured in three major parts:
- First, a reorganization of mobility across the valley
- Second, a strategy for urban development and the preservation of the natural areas
- Third, The creation of 7 emblematic projects
The valley is not only identifiable by its two banks, but also by its three topographic layers. The river bed is the first, the river bank slopes the second and the ridge, a remarkable element, the third. Each layer is associated with a different approach to architecture.
The valley is composed of 6 major and 3 peripheral villages. How to densify this valley and provide all necessary services without destroying its intrinsic qualities? The answer is found in the creation of a synergistic loop of 7 villages.
The proposed design developments for each village are based on:
- A densification of the existing urban fabric: filling the gaps and reinforcing the edges
- The creation of an ecotone, a transition zone between the urban and the rural territories, where a system of renewable energy can be developed
- The preservation of areas of fertile soil, important for biodiversity as well as the agricultural character of the valley.
A range of nocturnal atmospheres/ambience is created along the river. These follow the progression from urban to rural landscapes. Bridges, temples, industrial structures and refuges are illuminated to be visible down in the valley. These illuminations create landmarks in the wide nocturnal landscape with each village is acting as an attractive point of light. Together these villages, and especially the emblematic projects, create a constellation of different identities in the night which help enforce their unique identities.
The seven emblematic projects of the Jianjiang river valley accompany the major principles of the landscape project. They are located near the town centers of each village in continuity with the pedestrian crossings on the Jianjiang River. Each project is unique in its location, identity and aesthetic.
BEIJING / South Axis
The competition “imagining the southern extension of Beijing’s central axis” was launched by the Territorial office of Beijing in the cities of Fengtai and Dongcheng. This project intends to define a territorial strategy for the southern part of the capital by respecting its original axial system. Over 800 years, the central axis of Beijing has guided the development of the city. Yet over the last decade unprecedented urban growth has created inevitable expansion outside city boundaries, far away from the historical axis.
This proposal to extend the north-south axis presents several opportunities. Beyond organizing the urban growth of Beijing as it reaches a new urban airport in the city’s south, it has the capability to test new principles for ecological urbanism. In integrating historical aspects of the axis within the contemporary development of the metropolis, the proposal would also plan for their inclusion as UNESCO world heritage sites.
The project proposal is formulated around the redefinition of the axis as a modular public space system, as an element of local culture and as a succession of gates and structural squares for new neighborhoods. In the South, the project defines a new urban edge between the dense city center and the periphery through the design of a new gate to the capital. The gate is accompanied by a park of 900ha that creates the scenographic staging of city and nature. The new urban fabric is designed based on historical local geometries, the large imperial park (Nanyuan) and its original access road.
ANTWERP / Over the ring South
The project “Over the ring: South” is part of an extended territorial reflection on the future of Antwerp’s ring road infrastructure. This project explores covering the ring road in strategic locations in order to create opportunities for urban connections, public space and future development. The core ambition is to (re)create a continuity in the city to repair the infrastructural rupture created by the ring road when it was introduced in the 1960s. The project area is situated along 4 km of infrastructures and includes all existing urban and landscape edges. How can covering portions of the ring road also become a tool that triggers progressive transformation of the territory?
The project of the ring is an illustration of the exceptional opportunities created by prioritizing the city of tomorrow over the infrastructures of the previous century. The future city is defined by its network of slow and public transportation systems, by collective spaces and ecological reserves, with its mixed urban developments, its nodes of metropolitan and local activities, all with respect to the greater landscape which functions as an armature for creating new spatial and visual connections.
Within the large-scale vision for the masterplan, pilot projects are strategically formulated based on their capacity to initiate a progressive transformation of the larger site. Pilot projects focus on the longitudinal continuities alongside the entire ring road, as, for example, hydrological or ecological strategies, or strategies against noise and air pollution. Other pilot projects develop spatial proposals for key points on site that can connect neighborhoods or create metropolitan nodes.
Intense dialogue with the inhabitants and community groups established project objectives and revealed the many points of view, constraints and opportunities of the site. Through workshops, site walks, presentations and individual dialogues, a critical link has been established between the design team and the site’s inhabitants and users.
Ravenna / Coastal Park
The coastline of Ravenna extends along 35km of the Adriatic Sea and is characterized by a heterogeneous, rich landscape, defined by artificial landscape zones on the one hand and natural zones on the other. These include the river confluences, dune landscape and historic pine forests. This project aims to redefine the entire coastline as single Maritime Park extending from North to South and from the water’s edge to the hinterland of wetlands and agricultural fields.
Four major actions are guiding the project:
- Revealing the water landscapes: the wetlands beyond the coastline have remarkable landscape qualities but today are undervalued. These will be re-connected to the coastline with trajectories that draw visitors through the pine forests.
- Reasserting the symbiosis between the pine forests and the sandy dunes: allowing them to be quickly understood as one of the critical natural landscapes of the coastline.
- Amplifying the potential of certain specific sites that are in contact with the sea: the squares on the seafront, the channel confluences and the urban parks.
- Promoting a slow, sustainable and nature-based tourism to complement seasonal beach tourism.
SAINT-NAZAIRE / Coastline
The metropolis of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, historically a dispersed group of villages, has changing over time from an inhabited countryside to a true metropolis. This political recalibration of the territory engenders a reevaluation of the intrinsic qualities countryside as well as the central city. The project demands an understanding of how this countryside, a natural area that makes up a large majority of the metropolitan area, can now become collective spaces for the 90% of the people that do not inhabit it on a day to day basis. The question is also what proportion of these spaces can contribute to a collective, shared identity for the metropolis.
The study for the coastal interface tends to interpret the territory based on the insular character of the peninsula of Guérande. The notion of edges, understood here as critical zones of interaction and interfaces between two distinct environments, helps formulate a conceptual and operational answer. This macro-approach demonstrates how the edges can play a role in the overall strategy, as a tool to understand the land but also as a project thickness. It is a transversal tool that allows to address multiple problematics simultaneously (tourism, ecology, urban development, properties, etc …). The edges become strategic places, important yet fragile. Our reading of the territory allows us to highlight three types of edges that can be leveraged for the territory’s transformation: the coastal edge, the counter-coastal edge and the in-between edge.
The ambition is to create a vision of the territory on a large scale, to understand the different forces that are present and how the landscape will structure this vision. Finally, shifting to a human scale, three project areas between Pornichet and Saint-Nazaire are investigated in greater detail and provide a testing ground of large-scale strategies by confronting them with site-specific realities.
DIEPENBEEK / Campus
An eco-campus for Diepenbeek
The continuous development of the site of the campus in Diepenbeek demands a reflection on larger scales. Occupying a strategic position between Hasselt, Genk and Diepenbeek, the site is related to larger-scale environmental conditions including ecologically active areas and flood zones. Thus the project is conceptualized at a regional scale rather than delimited by the site of today’s campus. Various elements inform this new masterplan that will structure the campus’ growth for the coming decade: water, ecology, slow and public transport, built structures.
A central urban axis will organize the expansion of the campus. This new east-west backbone, largely composed of public space, is a great connector and collector that weaves together academic faculties, research institutes and campus services buildings. This central structure will act as the new spine of the campus, welcoming students to professional life, cultural and social activities.
The spatial strategy for the expansion of the campus is inspired by the three characteristic landscapes of the site: the forests and lakes along the Miezerikbeek, the meadows of the Demer Valley and the agricultural fields surrounded by planted dykes. Diverse typologies and principles are developed in order to reinforce these landscapes, all with respect for their contributions to enriching biodiversity.
As a fundamental strategy, the campus will transform by adjusting mobility and parking strategies, introducing a north-south connection of public spaces and a hub for public transport and by reinforcing the characteristic landscapes of the territory.
The first expansion of the campus will be structured within the landscape of the agricultural fields and planted dykes, where the central east-west axis will be densified and actively programmed.
SHANGHAI / Pudong left bank
The municipality of Shanghai has initiated a large scale process of reconstruction of 21 km of the east bank of the Huangpu River. Situated in the heart of the metropolis, this project aims to create a new way of life on the currently unoccupied or strongly industrialized river banks, giving high visibility and a strong identity to this metropolitan space by encouraging varied and permanent uses along its entire length. The project redefines the space of the bank to create a living interface between neighborhoods and the river, a new width articulating soft transport, ecology, public spaces, activities and economy. A triptych of linear spaces (discovery path, main path and sports path), organize the different flows and types of usage, in continuity on the 21km of river banks. Each of these paths comes with thematic facilities to animate the bank, creating new activities on the river’s edge. The bank becomes an urban setting for everyday activity and nightlife, as well as a space for big local and national events.
The Main Path is the principal artery of this project. A comfortable and attractive pedestrian promenade, it offers a range of temporary or permanent animations and services such as street-food, playgrounds, and activity lawns… The Sports Path caters mainly to cyclists, joggers and fans of new urban sports. Fixed and mobile activities extend along its length (fitness training support, Ping-Pong tables, sports fields…) The Discovery Path invites the discovery of the richness of the river bank and it’s natural, cultural and architectural heritage. Careful profiling of space offers privileged views of the river and the metropolitan landscape. Natural spaces will be created as interpretive media to highlight biodiversity and the protection of fauna and flora.
To maintain a high level of landscape quality throughout the 21 km, the design of these spaces will be guided by the specificities of each site as well as by a system of urban terraces opening onto the river and its skyline. An evident continuity will be materialized by building canal bridges, footbridges and by creating a ‘milestone’ landmark to signal each kilometer – the ‘Totems’ , which create a connected public space for the metropolis by building a system of mobile device applications into each milestone. These twenty-one iconic architectures propose activities such as, tourist information, belvedere, restaurants, etc., and rhythm the promenade every kilometer, assuring the continuity and the singularity of this metropolitan public space.
The project will reinforce the presence of nature by giving space and visibility to the natural dynamics of the river. The creation of urban hubs on the existing ferry stations will favor accessibility to the river bank, by articulating urban public transport and river links (creation of new harbors, cable cabin transport, connections to tramway and metro)..
This project gives the opportunity to open the landscape of Shanghai onto its river by encouraging varied and vibrant urban life on the banks. Shanghai will find here a waterline, reflection of its symbolic skyline, and a new public space expressing local culture as well as contemporary international lifestyles.
BRUSSELS / Metropolitan Landscapes : Molenbeek Valley
The Molenbeek Valley is a historical landscape, rich in natural environments and activities, and reflects the opportunities and threats for the position of landscape and (peripheral) open space within the metropolitan development of Brussels. With its position between the regions of Flanders, and the Brussels Capital Region, the valley is marked by an administrative and political rupture in addition to the large contrast between city and countryside. Therefore, the Molenbeek valley is a hinge territory, offering much potential to become an instigator for the development of tomorrow’s peripheral Brussels.
In this research by design project, the urban fabric is reflected and shaped by its landscape structures, primarily read in section. The strategy for the development of the Molenbeek Valley is based upon the topographical characteristics of the site. This leads to the definition of multiple morpho-typologies of open space depending on their height within the valley structure: hilltop, cascade and low valley. These functional as well as spatial typologies translate into locations: for a (metropolitan) landmark, for an intensive confrontation with the urban tissue or for a natural corridor.
The overall vision for the Valley is to create a productive park for Brussels West, inducing a mind shift in the metropolis and allowing the urgent problematic of food sustainability to become visible. The park will introduce short circuits, and will combine ecological, productive and public spaces into one coherent (peri-urban) landscape structure. The relation with the surrounding tissue is essential in this respect. Diverse pilot projects have been pre-defined for the different sequences (rural, hinge or urban) of the park.
The metropolitan landscape of the Molenbeek Valley becomes a hinge and lever for the development of the Northwestern periphery of Brussels.
NANTES / Edges to Edges
« Edges to Edges » is a prospective metropolitan strategy that anticipates the future rising water level in the metropolis of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire. The strategy is materialized into six pilot projects, representing the diversity of the landscapes in the region.
The proposed territorial network relies on the territory’s geography and history. The landscape is characterized by the ever present influence of water: vegetation, crossings and movements are witnesses of its presence. As real interfaces, the edges in all their diversity become the privileged spaces for the project interventions.
In the short term, this evolutionary strategy proposes various actions for prefiguration that activate the edges. In the long term, a renewed metropolitan dynamic is presented.
RENNES / Valley of the downstream Vilaine River
This project is founded on analysis of the entire valley territory of 25 km of river banks. The territory is fragmented and lacking identity: the river and its banks have the strong image and the potential to create common ground by reinvigorating the link between the Vilaine River and its countryside.
The park of the Vilaine reworks the composition of the territory and brings together its various components, specifically through the creation of direct links between the two banks. The idea is to associate diverse and qualitative lifestyles with many activities, by creating a neighbourhood park to enhance the quality of life of local inhabitants.
The park is structured around two itineraries/routes, which become real energy lines articulating the amenities of the territory. At the crossing of the two lines, places of intensity with activity programming are introduced.