Design by young studio Watershed creates open spaces for those in The Nest scheme
In line with the current five year government plan commitment to improve social infrastructure and social safety nets, assisting disadvantaged groups within the city, 'The Nest' was created in 2009 as a platform for collaboration and promoting the development of social entrepreneurs in Shanghai.
The Nest pilot program was established with the specific goal of enabling the rapid growth of like-minded social enterprises in China, mobilising communities and resources with a common passion for social, personal and environmental change in an open dialogue environment.
Over a 3 year period, The Nest has proved to be very successful at helping small social enterprises scale up and generate job training and employment opportunities for physically and mentally challenged individuals. As a result the Nest has been able to expand to a larger location: Gongyi Xintiandi and is now 10 times bigger, with wider reach enabling them to have a greater social affect.
Watershed, a newly established international design firm located in Shanghai, partnered with NPI by assisting the Civil Affairs Bureau to create a concept and develop the schematic landscape design to achieve a meaningful difference in the lives of the social entrepreneurs of The Nest and those citizens they serve within the local community.
In creating a space that would cater to the specific needs of the many unique and diverse user groups, Watershed has created spaces which are both functional and aesthetically unique in relation to the existing site features. Spaces vary from breakout food and beverage space, to a central plaza, reception areas, to multi-use courts and community gardens, all designed to meet international accessibility standards using a contemporary design language.
Watershed is particularly interested in placing an emphasis on social environments as a catalyst for social transformation. This vision asserts that in the twenty-first century the creation of built environments requires: design approaches of real-world relevance, stressing technical, ecological, economic, social, cultural, aesthetic, and ethical concerns; an interdisciplinary culture of individuals who are not only experts in one of the core designing and planning disciplines, but experts in the sciences, humanities, arts, and other professions; and a spirit of service to diverse communities which promotes ecological and social sustainability. The project is currently under construction and is due to open by early 2014.