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West Bund Oil Tank Art Park

This project is an interesting story about how industrial relics getting reincarnated through art in a new era of city development. A group of abandoned oil tanks, a pool for fire-fighting, and the site they sit on, which were all part of the long abandoned Longhua airport that used to occupy a prime stretch of Huangpu river, will be preserved and transformed into an urban park. The abandoned oil tanks will be transformed into containers for art and life, various art related programs will be brought in, and a massive ‘urban forest’ will be created – This is the new urban art park which pays tribute to the site’s industrial past, and aims to provide the public with easy access to contemporary art, and to enhance the city life while reestablishing the link among art, nature and the city. It will become the new hub for cultural and art activities in Shanghai’s West Bund.

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

1.    A metamorphic ‘Super-Surface’ is created to form a new ground while connecting all the tanks from underneath. On the surface, is a vast outdoor modern art park with sculptural works set in the expansive lawn; below, are various public programs and indoor exhibition spaces.

Five oil tanks are preserved. Two of the tanks will be transformed into art galleries in different ways -- one will contain a white cube within to adapt to curatorial needs, especially for hanging delicate canvas works; while the other will remain almost ‘untouched’ to fully preserve its bold industrial features and the raw beauty, which will be used as a special space for larger-scale artworks and installations. The other three tanks will be renovated as multi-functional exhibition, leisure and activity spaces.

2.    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. Under the shady tree canopies are various green isles with distinctive landscape features, including grassy mounds, playgrounds and wetlands. Art works and preserved industrial machines will be scattered in the landscape. Art and nature will coexist beautifully here.

3.    In between the Super-Surface and Urban Forest are two plazas: the Urban Plaza and the Great Lawn. 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 Great Lawn is relatively smaller in scale. Its grassy surface will be ideal for hosting semi-public events and parties.