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MIT recently unveiled their 2nd Prize proposal for International Student Urban Design Competition for Shanghai Railway Station Area. A recurring problem in many mature cities is their inevitable engulfing of large logistical infrastructures originally intended for the urban periphery. This process often leads to compromises in both operations and the quality of the urban space. Within this larger category, the competition poses the question of how to properly engage and profitably redevelop the area surrounding Shanghai’s main railyard as the city’s dense core expands outwards, while also resolving the existing issues of spatial connectivity and architectural typological heterogeneity. Ultimately, three basic strategies exist for such a problem: a) transfer rail operations elsewhere and clear the land completely (St. Louis’s waterfront), b) cover the rail-operations with new development (Hudson Yards), or c) somehow work with and around the railyard, finding a more realistic and feasible solution that could leave the operations intact while re-qualifying the urban space and increasing the area’s development potential. We chose the latter.
▽ Masterplan Aerial 总体规划鸟瞰
The site operates differently at the scale of the region, the city, and the neighborhood. It lies next to Shanghai’s Railway Station which links the city to a surrounding constellation of urban areas with 20 million inhabitants, all roughly an hour train ride or less away. At the scale of the city, the site blocks the current development of Shanghai’s existing pattern of commercial corridors, with the middle of the site being a potential cross-axis of two of these commercial bars. At the neighborhood scale, it isolates the Northern and Southern neighborhoods from each other along the 1.6 km long railyard and service areas with only a few car traffic thruways linking them. Furthermore, the boundary between rail-system and city produces awkward and unusable block geometries, unclear and poorly connected blocks and street networks, and informal buffers zones with uncertain identities and uses.
▽ Urban Analysis 区域分析
▽ Site Analysis 场地分析
Ultimately, our understanding of the multi-scalar problems of the site led to a set of 4 interrelated solutions: a new block typology towards a continuous fabric; an architecture for bridging the rails and concentrating new activities; a consolidation strategy for the rail services with the free-up of new public spaces for the city; and a unique plinth typology that mediates the relation between the void of the railyards and the city while structuring the space above for future development.
▽ Site Strategies 场地策略
Warehouses: The railyard warehouses acts as scaffolding around which existing rail functions attach themselves. The consolidation of rail functions produces a centralized location for rail management and repair, providing better interaction and communication between each department. The off-axis orientation of the warehouses produces deep pockets of protected space away from the highway interchange and busy road. Wrapping the outside of the warehouses, a layer of private development and offices with ground level programs such as restaurants, grocery stores, and day-care centers, provide the day-to-day needs of the local community and rail-workers. The programing of this external layer also breaks down the scale of warehouses, providing a series of linked and vegetated public spaces where children, families, and market-goers alike can find respite from the crowded city.
▽ Masterplan 总体规划
▽ Ground Plan 2.7 m 2.7米标高平面
▽ Floorplan +13 m 13米标高平面
Intersection: The point of highest congestion – where three rail lines and a buried highway converge – might not be the obvious place to locate Shanghai’s newest cultural center. However, it is precisely this congestion that we seek to intensify and redirect onto our site by creating a new public equipment for the city. By covering the existing railyard and elevated light-rail line with a gently sloping public lawn, workers and residents from all four neighborhoods have a shared space of meeting and interchange to the other neighborhoods. Underneath the roof we install a space for permanent markets as well as new, world-class amenities: a performance hall, a 15m high exhibition hall, and a conference center. All of these programs are easily accessed by a relocated light-rail stop, with direct connection to Shanghai’s main train station, to inside the Intersection.
▽ Programming + Infrastructures 功能分布与基础设施
▽ Intersection Concept 交汇点叠加概念
▽ Intersection Layers 交汇点层次
▽ Intersection Detail Plan 1 交汇点局部平面
▽ Intersection Detail Plan 2 交汇点局部平面
▽ Intersection Render 交汇点渲染图
Frame: The frame delimits a clear boundary between the critical infrastructure of the railyard and the city. We propose to trace the framed railyard with a continuous three story, 21m thick plinth. This mediates the relation between the city and the railyard, while maximizing development around the previous leftover space. The frame also sets the foundation for a series of wide towers. Different developers can take on the building and designing of these towers as they wish, while the plinth itself guarantees the design of full-depth office and research spaces with optimal day-light and cross-ventilation. Even though the railyard is left completely un-touched, we achieve an FAR over 5.0 with better environmental performance than typical block structures. Leaving the working railyard untouched opens it to future expansion or re-development if and when rail becomes overtaken by new technologies, or naturally moves to another location.
▽ Warehouse Consolidation 铁路车间整合
Neighborhoods: The new street structure defines clear, well sized, and rationally shaped blocks for parcelization and re-development. Each block contains at least one shared commercial plinth between two to four towers, and one small public plaza. This block typology provides the following benefits: a) better access to the middle of blocks for shared public and semi-public spac¬es; b) special logistical / freight access for medical, technical, or advanced manufacturing research and production; c) more flexibility for programing due to larger ground and second floor footprints; d) public roof-space to increase outdoor areas in congested urban settings; e) higher FAR’s while maintaining good day-light and ventilation to the interior of the blocks; and f), a clear signal to inhabitants that the ground-floor is the more democratic layer of the city, being always publicly accessible even when topped with privately controlled office, residential, and institutional towers.
▽ Warehouse Plaza Rendering 铁路车间广场效果图
▽ New City Fabric 新城市肌理
▽ New City Fabric Rendering 新城市肌理效果图
▽ Frame Possibilities 框架的可能性
▽ Frame Rendering 框架效果图
Planning and Land Administration Bureau of Zhabei District, Shanghai
Total Floor Area:1,567,410m²
Difei Xu, SMArchS ‘15
Gabriel Kozlowski, SMArchS ‘15
David Birge, SMArchS ‘15