Wanzhou is a typical mountainous city. There are many narrow and shabby streets in the old downtown area. These streets are losing the original living atmosphere. With more and more inhabitants moving out, they are becoming lifeless.
The renewed site happens to sit at the interface between the old and new urban spaces. It faces the new business streets and sits back against the old neighborhood. Small though it is, the site connects the modern streets and the old neighborhood, carrying the memories of the city. We wish to keep the existing street landscapes while integrating the new and traditional business formats. This renewal project facilitates urban renewal and engages more stakeholders in the urban renewal efforts.
Jixiang Street serves as an access to the old downtown Wanzhou from Wanda Plaza. It is connected with the busy Wanda Golden Street in front and sits against a neighborhood halfway up the hill. The major part of the site fell into a terrible mess with dilapidated buildings, crowded vehicles, and a dirty environment.
The major part of the site fell into a terrible mess with dilapidated buildings, crowded vehicles, and a dirty environment. As the rear facade of Wanda Plaza, the main facades of Jixiang Street was covered with air conditioners, pipelines and wires. What’s worse, there were complicated altitude differences and disorderly living interfaces on the site. Taking all of these problems into account, our design aims to transform this shabby and inactive street into a new space, one that serves as a link between new life and traditional culture and that revives the local life of Wanzhou.
We combined multi-dimensional cultures, met the living needs of local residents and introduced business formats popular online to attract young consumers. Its success reminds us that urban renewal should be launched based on the site conditions, conserve the unique characteristics of the site as many as possible, and meet the needs of the local residents. By introducing proper business formats attractive to the young generations, we succeeded in revitalizing the neighborhood.
Integrate and upgrade the living space of the neighborhood
Based on the site conditions, the design kept and reinterpreted the original structures and trees on the site. A moonlight theatre, a book house and a reading corner were built around the trees. The disorderly and passive space is interpreted from a new perspective. The renewed site not only meets the living needs of the local residents but serves more purposes for all the citizens. The outdoor book bar equipped with counters and seats enhances the space and provides an ideal choice of entertainment. With skillful design, the new space becomes active, inclusive and flexible, which not only satisfies the local residents but also becomes appealing to the younger generation.
Update and revive commercial areas
The success of an urban renewal project depends much on the follow-up investment and operation. Proper commercial investment and operation ensures that the renewed space is vibrant and engaging. For Jixiang Street, we chose scattered business formats instead of the clustered ones. Some buildings along the street are renewed or rebuilt. Elements popular among the younger generations are introduced, such as cafes and food stalls popular online, thereby injecting new energy into the street.
3 Integrate multi-dimensional cultures
In addition to passing down the local culture, the design keeps all elements that carry the memories of the city, putting in place a series of landscape walls and installations that reproduces the history of the Wanzhou Port. Serving as the bond between life and culture, the site arouses empathy in both residents and visitors.
4 Landscape-oriented street renewal
In consideration of the visual effect and the cost, the dilapidated building along the street is torn down and replaced by a small commercial building. The corner of the building is specially designed, thereby ensuring the growth space of the ancient tree. With respect to the lifestyles of local residents, the houses along the main façade of the street are properly renovated and decorated to keep the original appearance to the greatest extent.
Walking along the winding street, you will experience diverse local life.
Jixiang Street Renewal
Location: Wanda Gold Street, Wanzhou District, Chongqing, P.R. China
Commissioned by: Wanzhou Committee of Housing and Urban-Rural Development
Designed by: WTD GROUP
Year of Completion: 2021
Design Team: Li Hui, Li Yansa, Tian Le, Li Dandan, Hou Maojiang, Wang Lu, Pan Yujie, Li Li, Tong Zheng, Shi Xueting, Li Chao, Ou Liangxue, Zhang Shuzhen, Yao Shuye, Zhang Zongguo, Yu Zhengwei, Wang Xiaowei
Collaborators: Shanghai Dachuan Architects (building renovation), Jisheng Landscape (construction)
Photos by: Prism Photography