by Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP
上海景观论坛是由Sasaki, AECOM 和 SWA 三家设计公司于2017年联合发起的主题性景观行业分享盛会。随着SOM, ASPECT Studios, HASSELL, TLS等多家国际性景观公司的加入逐渐壮大。论坛以”开拓新的实践，以催化设计创新、影响政策变革；提升公众对于景观重要贡献的认识；倡导景观行业，使之汇入社会进步的主流推动力“为使命，旨在提升景观行业的影响力，并推进行业的可持续发展。
The Shanghai Landscape Forum is a themed event for landscape professionals initiated by Sasaki, AECOM, and SWA in 2017. With the participation of SOM, ASPECT Studios, HASSELL, TLS, and many other international landscape companies, the forum has grown rapidly. The forum’s aim is to pioneer new practices that result in design innovation and influence policy transformation, raise public awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contributions, bring landscape architecture into the mainstream by advocating for the profession as a driving force for social progress, and build a more sustainable tomorrow. The forum covers all aspects of the landscape design industry.
The fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum was held at the AIO Space on the afternoon of April 21, 2019. It was also an ASLA International Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN) event.
第五届上海景观论坛于2019年4月21日下午在上海机遇中心成功举办。本次论坛也是美国景观设计师协会ASLA 海外PPN倾力支持的盛会。相比以往生态复育，文化遗产保护，基础设施等话题，此次论坛尝试从一个更加感性的角度来思考景观设计。以Tom Leader Studio（TLS）提议的感知为主话题，三组演讲嘉宾围绕“此情此景（Momentum）”、“彼时此刻（Memory）”及“日新月异（Expectation）”三个细分方向展开了深层次、多方位地探讨。他们基于自身的学术背景及在中国及国际的实践经验，与观众分享了他们对于感知与时间、空间、记忆、公共认知等相关因素联系的见解。
In contrast to previous forum topics—ecological restoration, cultural heritage, and infrastructure—the theme for this forum was “sensation,” and it was selected to encourage landscape discussions in a more perceptual way. Based on practice in China and overseas, the guest speakers discussed people’s perception of the external environment and their thinking on the spiritual world. A series of richly layered, interdisciplinary topics was discussed around the three sessions: Momentum, Memory, and Expectation.
此次论坛首次尝试跨界，邀请到来自德国的艺术家双人组Quintessenz 以及AECOM, ASPECT Studios, Gossamer, HASSELL, SASAKI, SWA等6家顶尖国际设计公司的景观设计师与城市设计师演讲并参与圆桌讨论。5家深度合作媒体及16家支持媒体与论坛主办方展开战略合作,并对此次活动进行宣传报道。凡达利艺术、雨鸟、上海亿泽机电设计事务所和KOMPAN作为本次活动的赞助商出席，共同助力上海景观论坛。本次论坛首次采用中英文双语，面向更广大的行业群体。
The interdisciplinary forum invited the German artist duo Quintessenz (Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic), and also landscape architects and urban designers from AECOM, ASPECT, Gossamer, HASSELL, SASAKI, and SWA—in total, guest speakers came from seven international landscape firms and art studios. Five deep cooperative media partnerships and 16 media supporters have developed strategic cooperation with the forum, and participated in the promotion of the event. Vantaly Art, Rainbird, Shanghai Yize Electromechanical Design Office, and KOMPAN are the sponsors supporting this event. This forum is the first bilingual event (Chinese and English) to target a wider audience.
Below is a summary of the presentations and round-table discussion.
Session A: 此情此景 Momentum
主题：感知营造 – 色彩，空间和艺术
Creating Sensation—Color, Space, and Art
The presentation by German artists Quintessenz focused on how their installations are conceptualized and realized internationally.
Space is their fundamental inspiration. Their work not only uses shapes and patterns found in architecture, it interferes with its environment, thus changing the spectators’ perception of space. Their works bring instantaneous senses of space through special elements such as moire effect, wind and light. It creates space for its color. To them, color is more than form, it is the content itself.
Some of their previous projects have dealt with “floating art,” colored layers of mesh fabric that move in a flowing motion according to the wind. They create waves of color gradients that float in the air and are constantly altered in their appearance by the changing wind and light. For instance, their installation “Kagkatikas Secret” on the beautiful island of Paxos in Greece was a colorful installation within the ruins of an ancient building. The site had its own magic, whereas the architecture really fits into its environment. The views that one could enjoy, while being in the building and looking through the windows at the landscape, offered intense visual experiences. Quintessenz tried to emphasize that specific situation with the interference of their installation.
Instrumental Archipelago: The Sensing Devices of Tristan da Cunha
As part of ongoing research into new ways of perceiving landscape, Alex Breedon from Gossamer presented research into non-traditional methods of understanding landscape. Taking the remote archipelago of Tristan da Cunha as a case study, Gossamer is taking part in uncovering scientific and technological developments in sensing and perceiving.
Tristan da Cunha is awash with scientific devices, data, and organizations that constantly monitor and record phenomena on and around the island. These instruments are key actors in uncovering the genius loci of Tristan da Cunha. What is key is that these devices do not model or simulate; instead, they monitor and record, sensing the landscape in ways beyond what is normally possible. These ‘machines for sensing’ work within a constant feedback loop between the active agent and the data that is generated. By constantly monitoring, to the micro-second, these devices position themselves in the dynamism of the present, challenging our human perception of space and time.
As part of the presentation Alex expanded the idea that these scientific apparatuses may develop new ways to sense landscape, leading to a flexibility and adaptability that is deeply needed within the broader practice.
A Trail Marks of Human and Nature
演讲嘉宾：陆诗蕾 Shilei Lu
SWA的演讲主要探讨了位于深圳的光明绿道项目如何赋予使用者突破场地现有的感知体验。项目所在地光明小镇是是少数离深圳市中心仅一小时车程， 以国家基本农田和森林为依托的特色小镇。 省5号绿道是小镇空间结构的脊梁，串联着小镇内的农田、小镇、森林。
The presentation from SWA mainly discussed how the Shenzhen Guangming Trail project brings sensation experience to users. The site is located in Guangming District, which is one of a few feature towns relying on farmland and forest and within a one-hour drive to downtown Shenzhen. The Provincial No.5 Greenway is the backbone of the town’s spatial framework, connecting the farmland, historic town, and forest.
As a landscape designer, the question was how to take cues from the site, and how to empower the users to break through the perceptible site and experience. What is this perception able to bring to the site? The designers started with nature’s footprint: vegetation, habitat, hydrology, and topography. With systematic analysis and mapping, they identified some nodes with a series of high potentials. The deepest experience in these sites is at the high potential nodes, derived from natural trace analysis.
SWA presented their three-bridge concept, with three iconic landscape bridges added to the Guangming greenway: the “Floating Bridge,” “Discovery Bridge,” and “Hanging Bridge.” The three-bridge concept broke the design boundaries of human, greenway, and forest. Landscape elements are utilized to bring a “touch” extending into nature. People will experience the greenway and forest from a new angle.
The “Floating Bridge” is the trace of trees and water. It floats above a valley full of lychee trees, and in this open valley you can see the forest and the city. The “Floating Bridge” is quiet, mysterious, floating, and ecological.
The “Discovery Bridge” is the trace of water and people. It provides a way for people to walk out of the greenway into the forest, to explore and approach the natural pools and habitats of the mountains. This area will make use of an existing deep pit to develop as a recreational space, and the bridge spans the existing ravine pool to bring people closer to the water’s surface.
The “Hanging Bridge” is the trace of wind and people, capturing the valley wind between the greenway and the nearby lychee trees. In order to enhance the sensation of the wind, wind bells are hung under the bridge, providing a wonderful visual and auditory experience in the wind. The sensation of the wind is the most important, and the structure of the bridge itself is likely to be more subtle.
As the professionals creating outdoor spaces, landscape designers will use the logical analysis and exquisite sensation to identify the site potentials. The site can be designed to enhance its characteristics and create sensation possibilities that go beyond its existing conditions.
Session B: 彼时此刻 Memory
Dialogue with Memory of a Place
演讲嘉宾：曾志强Zhiqiang Zeng，萧宇昂Yu-Ang Hsiao, 朱宇 Yu Zhu
Our sensation of the memory of a place is difficult to express precisely. Memory of a place exists in everyone’s mind, but it varies among different people with different cultural and generational backgrounds. There are different explorations in the landscape design field regarding how to address the vague concept. No matter which approach we take, as landscape architects, we all need to respect the site in the first place, to have a dialogue with the memory of the place, and consistently integrate the memory into the design concept and even the construction details, rather than completely ignoring the present and past of the site to create some fake memories that do not belong to the site. In Sasaki’s presentation, three types of strategies were shared, focusing on different site conditions.
The first strategy is to construct the overall spatial framework based on the historical remnants on the site. First, it is suggested to preserve the historical remnants on site as much as possible and make it the centerpiece of the project. The history should be integrated within the overall spatial framework, providing users the opportunity to sense the different historical periods of the place.
The second strategy is to create design features from the local characteristics. When there are no usable remnants on site, through the on-site investigation, we can explore the local characteristics rooted in the site, which may be the natural landscape, soil and rock, hydrology, or it can be culture, art, and various folk customs. Then we could integrate the memory with design to create site features and spatial details for the public to sense.
The last strategy is when there are no historical traces on site. In that case, one may find the site-related memory through research of historical documents, and represent it as a response to the public memory of different generations. The presentation elaborated the above strategies based on three previous projects, including the Shanghai EXPO Cultural Park, Chongqing mountain park, and Indianapolis’ central waterfront.
Xuhui Runway Park is an urban renewal project, formerly known as Longhua Airport with nearly 100 years of history. With the opening of Hongqiao Airport, the function of Longhua Airport has gradually weakened, but the runway has been preserved. The runway, which best reflects the characteristics of the site, has become the starting point of conceptual design. It is no longer the runway for planes, but the runway of contemporary life. The place that was once used for airplanes’ take off and landing is now serving cars, bicycles, and pedestrians; various activities of modern life have been engaged in this linear system to celebrate the experiences and features of the space.
之后的深化设计都在围绕这条跑道开展设计。不过跑道的现状条件并不乐观，大部分被市政道路覆盖，我们通过测绘保护现存跑道、移除跑道表层道路沥青、破碎跑道混凝土作为道路铺装等方式，以最大程度地再现历史跑道。经过多方努力和 3 年多的建设，昔日的机场跑道得以重获新生。设计赋予了它新的功能，使其重新融入到现代城市生活中，人们行走在跑道混凝土上去体会跑道当年的历史。
The design is focused around this runway. However, the existing condition of the runway is not ideal. Mostly covered by asphalt, we a took survey to preserve the existing runway, removed the surface asphalt, and used the cracked runway concrete to pave the park road, in order to represent the runway as best as we can. With concerted efforts and more than three years of construction, the historical airport runway is revitalized. The design gives it new features to reintegrate it into modern urban life. The past scenarios are brought back as people walk on the concrete.
Why is the memory of a place is so important to designers and the public? Because we believe that memory is the trace of our lives. What we create will also become the memories of the future, settling down on site and forming new historic layers of the site.
Inspired by Trees
The presentation from AECOM was inspired by the importance and beauty of trees. The presenter, AECOM Director Lee Parks, drew examples around the world, including trees that have had a personal impact on him and trees that he tries to have an impact on, through planning and design.
Lee said in his presentation: “The trees we plant today as landscape architects will hopefully turn into great trees for future generations.” As landscape architects, we are privileged to be pioneers who plan and design spaces with trees, spaces that can impact people, places, and wildlife, and can influence experience and memory.
Lee told the story of an 800-year-old oak tree, a tree that even has its own Facebook page and a beautifully illustrated children’s book. The locals describe it as a tree that “oozes history and presence.” Unfortunately, the tree was damaged by fire in 2018. Saddened school children wrote heartfelt letters in a bid to raise awareness of it.
Trees symbolize longevity, hope, forgiveness, and survival. They create a strong sense of place, scenic value, and tourism attractions, and provide important cultural and spiritual resources. Trees play a key role in the places of our present-day lives, carrying stories and memories of our past. They even inspire artists, writers, poets, filmmakers and musicians. Trees are a source of infinite inspiration.
Over the past 15-20 years, the pace of urbanization has caused almost constant upheaval. Trees are planted but ripped out for something new within one or two political terms (Five-Year Plans). However, as streetscapes and parks mature, and interest in environmental protection rises, can cities like Shanghai do more to safeguard trees for future generations?
Could we, through our professional network, do more to help raise awareness of memorable, old, valuable, or significant trees? What could be done in a city like Shanghai?
Stay tuned for the second part of this recap, which will summarize Session C: Expectation and the forum’s concluding round-table discussion.
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Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP, is Senior Associate and Director, Shanghai Office, at Sasaki and Co-Chair of the ASLA International Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN).