Succeeding the Jiannan water city by fusing water and the ground
Qingpu district historically has many natural lakes and is one of the oldest areas that human being settled in the ancient era around Shanghai city. This design proposes to use the hexagonal grid to revitalize “the green water city” that has been existed for a long time in Qingpu Xincheng.
Historically, in the water city, both water and roads have meandered and created the free form curve in the city. Also, because of the little level difference in water and ground lever, water and road were closely related to each other in this area.
In present Qingpu district, the free form curve still remains for the water area, however, the most layouts of the roads have been modified to the orthogonal grid. Meandered roads can still be found in the part of old district, but not much left in the city. Although it is true that the orthogonal grid for street planning is more convenient, the historical figure on the ground of Qingpu water city is lost.
We propose to design the hexagonal grid to preserve the memory of water city. It is the memory of the close relationship of water and roads. Hexagonal grid is a transitional form between free curve and orthogonal grid. Hexagonal form has strait lines without orthogonal angle, and creates various sceneries more than orthogonal grids. This form can weaken the contrast between water and land. This is the way of bringing back the memory of historical water city.

Using the effective hexagon, transcending the water city
Because this hexagonal shape makes our design very unique, in the history of design, it is very rare to use this shape for land dividing in this large dimension. For the entire Qingpu district’s development, the area around Dianshan Lake Street, where is located as commercial and cultural center, is mostly covered by roads planned with the orthogonal grid. This division gives very strong character to the park.
Hexagonal is the very efficient shape with maximum number of edge to fit together without any gap to tile the plane. The hexagon is also the polygon that can fill in the same area with the shortest side. It is very efficient figure to make the shortest road in the side and to place the different landscape in each polygon. The hexagon can not only bring back the memory of the water city but also transcending to the historical water city.
The each side of hexagon is 50m. The hexagonal grid is laid down through the Dianpu River coast of the whole park. There are 4 entrance in the north side and 3 entrances in the South of the river. The whole park is divided by artificial canals into 5 parks, like City Park, Green Park, Cultural Park, and Riverside Park. They are connected by bridges and make the “Archipelago Park” in total. Each park has their central hexagonal unit, and these centers are connected by the main path of 10 meter width, lined with cherry blossoms. This path is usually used as the pedestrian, but the vehicle can drive through in the case of emergency.

5 archipelagos and hexagonal area
Each of the 5 different parks are constituted from the hexagon shapes and each of hexagons has different functions. The docks for the public boats are located in the dock hexagon unit of Riverside Park. The ferry terminal is located in the ferry hexagon unit of Green Park. The amphitheatre is in the theatre hexagon unit of Cultural Park. There are 3 shore hexagon units of gentle slope sand beaches. There are also the small hills in the Green Park that combines 2 hexagons.
Every hexagon has different ground surface materials such as stone, wood deck, slates, tiles and mortar. Flower bed, trees, and grass on the ground are also used on the ground to create the variety of hexagon units.
The ground level of the park is slightly higher, but lower than city area around the Dianshan Lake Street. The green park and the cultural park that was connected with landward by bridge have lower ground level than the rest of 3 parks. This design circulated the gradual countermeasure of the flooding level for Dianpu River. If the flooding was not too serious, only the water level on Green Park and Cultural Park would rise. However, if the flooding gets worse, the Green Park and Cultural Park would be underwater first and the rest of 3 parks will also be flooded at the end. In conclusion, the whole park itself has the function of flood control basin.

Fusing water, green, and architecture
The sides of hexagons are covered by the pedestrian road. The main road is 10m wide, and the rest of the roads are 5m or 3 m wide. The inside hexagon surrounded by pedestrian road has green, water, sand beach, playground, amphitheatre, flower beds and so on. The hexagon grid can provide the trident cross point. Because each hexagon has their own functional world, those trident cross point fuse the 3 different landscapes to the visitor. This means that water, green, and nature coexist to each other. This trident cross road can provide different experiences for the pedestrian more than orthogonal grid.
Those 5 parks are connected by bridges. In those shore hexagons, visitors can directly approach to the water. The necessary buildings are arranged in the whole park. Semi-exterior space is also provided partially by tent roof.
Only the outer side of hexagon becomes pedestrian road that is made out of concrete slab structure. The part that is surrounded by pedestrian roads changes its ground level by heaping or curving the ground. The curved soils are recycled to heap up on the different part of the site to cut the construction cost.

Project name:
Hexagonal Park
BMA Beijing Matsubara and Architects
Hironori MATSUBARA, Zhichao LI
Qingpu, Shanghai
Site area:
606790 sq.m.
Design period:
November, 2008 – January, 2009
Shanghai Qingpu Planning Board