SWA Group's completed public space provides an urban focal point for Shanghai's Gubei district
The densely populated Gubei District in Shanghai is a bustling urban district with a growing community of families. Design consultants were selected to design a new pedestrian mall (Gold Street) to provide the public with an iconic open space and a sanctuary from the hectic city. The new mall occupies three city blocks, flanked by 20-storey high-rise residential towers with retail at street level. Plazas, parks, water features, dining and retail terraces, an amphitheater and a monumental tree-lined raised terrace now attract focus and activity.
The landscape design merges both modern and classical elements. Tall Gingko trees line the retail promenade, creating a visual transition from the surrounding towers to the mall’s intimate gardens. Contrasting the city’s hard-edged environment, evergreen camphor trees ensure a welcoming canopy year-round, while deciduous cherry trees provide seasonal interest. The social ecology of this progressive neighborhood was also a major influence on the design. With little indoor-outdoor differentiation, retail, gallery and restaurant activity flows seamlessly out onto the spacious 30-foot wide promenade. Graphic paving and custom site furniture contribute to this fluid connection from building to open space. Separated from the retail promenade by a few steps, the central plaza’s abundant benches and shade provides residents with a place to interact as a community.
The success of the project has brought new energy to this part of the city of Shanghai. The pedestrian mall offers a peaceful sanctuary from the hectic street life as well as potential for urban ecology and natural cooling in a dense urban setting.