With the recent redevelopment of the Xuhui Riverfront Area into a mixed-use district, the historic runway is embracing its new life. Master planned as a public street and linear park side-by-side, this project serves as a runway of modern life, offering a space of recreation for nearby communities, as well as a respite from the high-density redevelopment around. Following its environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable approaches, the site will lead the city’s new lifestyle.
The aerodynamic and industrial nature of the site is also referenced in the use of light poles that recall the form of airplane wings. In-ground lights outline the former runway concrete panels and serve as a visual connection to the park’s aviation history. All site lighting is LED sourced, reducing annual electricity use by 167,000 kilowatts compared with metal-halide lighting.
The stormwater from the park and Yunjin Road is managed along the street through the 5,760-square-meter (1.42-acre) rain garden on the north portion of the site and the 8,107-square-meter (2-acre) constructed wetland to the south. The roadside rain garden system is the first of its kind built in the city of Shanghai. After treatment at the rain garden and the forebay, the stormwater meets the quality requirements for recreational water, according to the Surface Water Quality Standard of China. A portion of the treated runoff is collected at a 39.4-cubic-meter (10,408-gallon) underground cistern for park operation and maintenance use when necessary, sufficient for irrigating 19,700 square meters (4.87 acres) of planted areas, or providing a full water supply for the Runway Fountain in the park.
Most construction materials were sourced locally and environmentally friendly to reduce emission during transportation, protect rainforests, and support the local economy. For example, fused bamboo lumber was used as a sustainable substitute of tropical hardwood on benches, boardwalks, and riverfront overlooks, due to its fast-growing nature, comparable strength, and longevity in outdoors environments.
The park has received a lot of attention from the neighborhood as well as from the city. Following its construction, many major residential, commercial, and office developments were grounded in its adjacent blocks, including the CCTV Yangtze Delta Headquarters, the first 7-star hotel in Shanghai, and the West Bund AI Center, the World Artificial Intelligence Conference site; the property value of the neighborhood increased over 80% from 2015 to 2019.
This site traces the record of urban development in Shanghai. It transcends time and space, bringing a piece of the memorable past to the present and into the modern comfort of urban public spaces. Its strong sustainable initiatives have earned it the first SITES Gold certification in Mainland China and the SITE 2019 Green Building Market Leader Award by USGBC’s Massachusetts Chapter.
Transforming a 90-year-old runway into a green oasis for residents and office workers. Learn more about its key design feature—the rain gardens.
Urban renewal in China has been interwoven with its unprecedentedly swift urbanization over the past forty years. Sasaki's Dou Zhang and Ming-Jen Hsueh reflect on the rapid pace of change and lessons learned.
This is the first project in mainland China to ever receive a SITES certification and the first project in all of China to receive a SITES Gold-level certification