Gensler design new public mixed-use district on site of former town destroyed by conflict
This project is located on the site of an ancient water village named Dachang, in the Baoshan District of Shanghai. It is a 41,000 sq m mixed-use project. The master plan for the site envisions an integrated ‘Live, Work, Play’ environment infused with history, culture and art creating a unique and dynamic retail destination.
The old water town of Dachang had a river running through the centre of the site with 9 famous bridges crossing it. Unfortunately, the town was destroyed during the Sino-Japanese war. It was left in ruins and the architecture of the past was lost.
This design seeks to restore the memory of the ancient town by creating a flowing central sunken retail plaza running across the site with 9 bridges connecting the two sides. This ‘conceptualised river’ recalls the history of the site and creates a vibrant commercial retail model by activating two retail storefronts on either side of the river and a dynamic light filled basement retail and entertainment experience. The angled lines of the sunken plaza create dynamic and ever changing sight lines breaking up the length of the linear plaza while two large central plaza’s create clear gathering spaces and mark the centre of the site.
There are several architectural styles that add variety and correspond to different programmatic functions. The ‘riverfront’ Architectural style is inspired by the white-faced buildings with grey roofs that are found in old water towns south of the Yangtze River. The 9 nodes that are connected to the 9 bridges have a more contemporary or current style, while the F&B buildings represent the future.
This contemporary approach to the historic urban fabric of Dachang along with the mixture of Architectural styles, elements of Chinese traditional landscaping and spaces, seeks to connect to and reconcile the past, the present and the future.