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Tank Shanghai

This project is a story about how industrial relics are reincarnated through art in a new era of city development. A group of decommissioned oil tanks, a pool for fire-fighting, and the site they sit on – previously Longhua airport on a prime stretch of Huangpu River, are preserved and transformed into an urban park. The tanks are turned from containers of oil to containers of art and life. While paying tribute to the site’s industrial past, the new art park aims to create new urban life by reestablishing the link among art, nature and the city.

OPEN’s design for the project is composed of several distinctive parts: Five oil tanks along with the connecting Super-Surface, Urban Forest, the Plazas and the Project Space.

A metamorphic ‘Super-Surface’ is created to form a new ground while connecting all the tanks from underneath. On the surface, it is an expansive landscaped sculptural garden; below the surface, various public programs and exhibition spaces seamlessly connect 5 preserved oil tanks together. Two of the tanks will be transformed into art galleries -- one will contain a white cube inside to best adapt to different curatorial needs, especially for delicate canvas works; while the other will remain almost completely intact to preserve its bold industrial features, which will be used as a special space for large scale artworks and installations. The other three tanks will be renovated as multi-functional exhibition, leisure and activity spaces.   

An Urban Forest stretches over the entire length of the site. This will be a precious piece of urban nature, hopefully attracting birds and squirrels to return. Art works and preserved industrial machines will be scattered in the landscape.

In between the Super-Surface and Urban Forest are two plazas: the Urban Plaza and the Event Plaza. Measuring 55 meters square in plan, the Urban Plaza can host large ceremonies and festival events. The embedded misting devices in the ground will transform this stone paved plaza into an interesting foggy field, while improving its micro climate in hot weather. The Event Plaza is relatively smaller in scale. Its grassy surface will be ideal for hosting semi-public events and parties.

To the east of the Event Plaza, a water pump house and a 25mx48m scale fire-fighting pool once stood there by the river. After renovation, they will be transformed into an individual Project Space for art events and small exhibitions.

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