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Creating an Active Waterfront

The North Bund is a historic area in Shanghai with proximity to the Huangpu River, and it is now undergoing transformation into a lifestyle hub. Andrew Wilkinson, principal at Hassell, talks about the importance of creating a continuous and active waterfront for the area.



BY Sylvia Chan

May 25th, 2017


The North Bund has a number of sites that will eventually be developed into a lifestyle hub with offices, shopping malls, and restaurants. Hassell’s masterplan for the area proposes a garden waterfront, which will stitch together these currently scattered sites, while bringing residents and visitors direct accessibility to the Huangpu River. Wilkinson says, “The continuously walkable and active waterfront will link the previously disconnected destinations and offer a variety of activities along the way.”

A main feature of the proposed garden waterfront is the Garden Walk. Defined by a sculptural shading element, the Garden Walk will run through the dense greenery on site. The shading element will help visitors orient themselves, while creating a spatial rhythm that will encourage people to move at different paces along the Huangpu River.

At the garden waterfront will be a path network, which will support activities such as walking, jogging, and cycling. It will also feature a landscape design that will offer a new setting for leisure activities at the waterfront. “It will be truly connected and active,” Wilkinson says.

To further enliven the space, Hassell devised a mix of programs along the waterfront garden. These programs will be distributed in response to the revitalised sites at the North Bund. For example, passive seating zones will be positioned the southern part, which will mainly be a tourist area. Playgrounds and sports zones will be directly adjacent to the residential area, supporting the needs of the community. Wilkinson says, “We imagine a variety of cultural and entertainment activities taking place at the waterfront throughout the year.”

Hassell’s masterplan also responds to the historical buildings on site in terms of material use and scale. The former Japanese Consulate to Shanghai, in particular, will be preserved and highlighted.

The masterplan will be implemented in stages over the next three to five years. A continuous connection along the waterfront will be established by the end of 2017.