Guangzhou Shipyard

SPARK has completed the master planning of Guangzhou Shipyard, a waterfront urban regeneration of the historic Guangzhou International Shipyard. The master plan has a total construction area of 1.2 million square metres including residential, culture, offices, retail, recreation, education and healthcare facilities.

SPARK initially won the international competition to develop the master plan in 2018 working for the renowned Chinese developer, CITIC Group.

Stephen Pimbley SPARK’s founding director commented “Designing at the scale of the Guangchuan is a complex undertaking. We have above all worked to create an attractive and resilient environment that draws on the very special history of the shipyard. In this time of unprecedented social and environmental change SPARK’s approach attempts to anticipate the transformations that are set to shape our urban environment. We have focussed on the quality of the public space and its ability as a connector. I believe the quality of the developments public infrastructure and its ability to unite the master plan’s disparate zones and functions together is perhaps more important than the quality of the individual buildings that are destined to occupy the prescribed development plots”.

The Guangchuan shipyard played a key role in Guangzhou’s industrial history and is primed to perform a new role in the Chinese Government’s framework for the Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau Greater Bay Area with the ambition to create a people friendly world class waterfront. By 2030 it will be transformed into a “Future Harbour City”, a pioneering landmark and for the Greater Bay Area.

SPARK’s master plan is predicated on the blending of uses; residential with office, culture, education, commercial, restaurants, cafes and local commerce therefore attracting people and making the environment safe and friendly. The diversity of uses generates activity that
contributes to the overall quality of the development. Planning public spaces in a way that encourages the coexistence and the permanence of people is a method of investing in sustainability environmentally and socially into the master plan.

In such a “city-scale” master plan high-density could negatively affect the quality of the public environment. SPARK has used positively the relatable scale historical elements to impart a positive effect on people’s perceptions of the overall environment.

Spark’s master plan is founded on the pragmatic principles of good connectivity, density and quality public spaces supported by a rich palette of activities. These will ensure the reimagined Guangzhou shipyard becomes a valued destination for working and living. The creation of a vibrant and valuable development for people to assimilate and come together as a society.

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Land use

Based on the approved city government master plan, Spark’s Future Harbour City is based on developing good quality public space and pedestrian networks through the notion of “One Centre, One Ring, Three Zones” an urban structure aimed at bonding the buildings with public space via pedestrian networks along the 2-kilometre site.

Master plan structure: “One Centre, One Ring, Three Zones”

“One Centre” refers to the “Future Valley”, sitting at the heart of the development and connecting metro access with the development’s multi-level pedestrian network; “One Ring”, the Guangchuan Ring, draws visitors from the city centre to the Riverfront Heritage Park. It is the master plan’s primary pedestrian network. “One Centre” and “One Ring” connect the “Three Zones”: “Commercial Zone”, “Living Zone” and “Riverfront Heritage Zone”.

The benefit of this integrated and connected mixed-use development extends far beyond the notion of aesthetics. Spark’s master plan is founded on the pragmatic principles of good connectivity, density and quality public space supported by a rich palette of activities. These will ensure the reimagined Guangzhou shipyard becomes an international destination for commerce and entertainment and contemporary living.

“One Centre”: The Future Valley

The “Future Valley” connects the Guanggang Heritage Green Axis and the Guangchuan Riverfront Park, providing the city with a seamless green urban oasis of over 600,000sqm. With direct access to metro lines, the well-connected “Future Valley” is an urban pedestrian hub and an eco-friendly “living room”.

The “Future Tower” located in the centre of the valley is a viewing tower, it is the heart of the multi-level pedestrian flow and the main converging point of the Guangchuan Ring.

“One Ring”: Guangchuan Ring

Three key pedestrian connections contribute to the success of the Guangchuan master plan: First, the central east-west connection, linking the Guanggang park with the metro interchange and the riverfront heritage zone. Second, the north-south connection which ties the commercial and residential zones together by the 3-dimensional network. Third, is the connection between the commercial zone and the riverfront heritage zone.

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Respecting the approved city government urban plan, the Guangchuan Ring interprets the above three key connections as: elevated parks and walkways, activated road-crossing and pedestrian tunnels, and riverfront boardwalks.

Vertical pedestrian circulation nodes in the form of social stairs, elevators and escalators are strategically inserted to the network, making the Guangchuan Ring an effective 3- dimensional pedestrian circulation system.

“Three Zones”: Commercial Zone, Living Zone, and Riverfront Heritage Zone

The master plan’s 700,000 sqm of commercial space is divided into North and South zones by the central east-west Future Valley axis.

“South Commercial Zone” consists of 5 plots. It features a 180m headquarter office tower and a creative office tower cluster, termed as “Creative and Tech Gateway”. Adjacent to the creative office towers, as part of the Guangchuan Ring, a multi-level commercial and leisure
street zone provides a human scale convivial atmosphere.

“North Commercial Zone” consists of 6 plots. It features a 300m headquarter office tower, a 220m innovation centre, and a cluster of riverfront independent headquarters. The Northern Commercial Zone spans across Fangcui Road and Changdi Road. Its main commercial street features “high-end” retail shops and restaurants, it connects the business area to the riverfront park and the Northern Residential Area. The major commercial towers in the North Commercial Zone are connected the metro interchange via a basement pedestrian network.

The“Living Zone” delivers over 500,000 sqm of residential facilities. Via the Guangchuan Ring, each sub-zone is well-connected with metro stations, Commercial Zones and Riverfront Heritage Zone.

The“Riverfront Heritage Zone” features a waterfront park extending along the riparian corridor, a green and urban system punctuated by cultural buildings and nodes of activity aligned to the old slipways and dry dock. The waterfront is a key walkable link that connects the development zones to infrastructure, attractions and living and working zones. The riverfront corridor is punctuated by a north south green axis that links an existing city
heritage park with the river through the master plan area.

Two key heritage preservation proposals are the Slipway Future Forum and “Dry Dock Valley”. The Slipway Future Forum is a multi-function cluster of pavilions linked to the creative offices via a second-level bridge. The “Dry Dock Valley” is a child-friendly family destination. The preserved dry dock contains a heritage café, a green park, a kid’s zone and a unique viewing deck over the Pearl River.

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Spark’s “One Centre, One Ring, Three Zones” structure allows the disparate high and medium density urban areas to be linked to the infrastructure nodes and points of amenity and activity.

The “Future Harbour City” is a mixed-use development of commercial offices, cultural attractions, residential facilities and a riverfront heritage park. It is destined to become a landmark for Guangzhou, and the Greater Bay Area.

SPARK is a Singapore, Shanghai and London based team of designers and thinkers working in the disciplines of architecture, urbanism, interior design, landscape design, research and branding. Using the evocation of the studio’s name “SPARK”; we produce stimulating, innovative,
award winning buildings and urban environments that generate significant added value for our clients. SPARK’s studios have built a large number of award winning projects throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Our work is influenced by the constant evolution of contemporary life and the influences upon it that require a fresh approach to urban thinking.

SPARK’s work ranges in scale from boutique shops, residential, mixed-use waterfronts, and civic buildings to urban planning. Our projects are enjoyable to use, functional, beautiful to look at and easy to understand. SPARK’s design solutions are an inspired socially and environmentally sensitive alchemy of the traditional ingredients of living, working and leisure designed to seamlessly connect society to an inspiring future.

For over ten years SPARK’s way of thinking has allowed us to make buildings that resonate with the public, clients and critics. We enjoy working with anybody who shares our belief that design makes an inspirational contribution to the world around us. SPARK’s award-winning projects include Clarke Quay in Singapore, the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal (MIPIM Asia Awards 2011, “Best Mixed-Use development” award), Starhill Gallery Kuala Lumpur and the Raffles City projects in Ningbo and Beijing. Spark’s Homefarm and BeachHut projects are the winners of the Future Experimental Category at the World Architecture Festival in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

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