Reclaiming the Mountain - INDESIGNLIVE SINGAPORE | Daily Connection to Architecture and DesignINDESIGNLIVE SINGAPORE | Daily Connection to Architecture and Design

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Reclaiming the Mountain

Designed by LOOK Architects and the Fuzhou Planning and Design Institute, the Fudao Connector in Fuzhou snakes through a lush bamboo forest like an iridescent ribbon. Felicia Toh reports for Cubes Indesign.



BY Felicia Toh

15 February, 2017


Impressed by Singapore’s Alexandra Forest Walk by LOOK Architects, the People’s Government of Gulou District in Fuzhou, China commissioned the Singaporean firm to conduct a study for a bridge cutting through otherwise inaccessible and mountainous forest.

The idea for this connector project was ambitious. Spanning 20 kilometres including the main spinal bridge, secondary connections and earth trails, the pedestrian walkway was planned to thread through multiple zones including villages, residential precincts, sports facilities, military zones, cemeteries, orchard plantations, hospital districts and a road tunnel.

“We were initially overwhelmed by the complexity of the site and land use,” reveals principal architect Look Boon Gee. LOOK teamed up with the Fuzhou Planning and Design Institute to undertake a study and commence the design and construction in sections. The site-mapping process alone took one and a half years, involving numerous hikes through the hilly terrain.

“We wanted to bring the mountain to the city. Over the years, the city of Fuzhou has grown. Surrounded by infrastructure, people forgot there was a mountain,” Look shares. The process of recovering the natural reserve within the heart of the city proved to be an extensive undertaking requiring urban planning, the design of a columbarium to re-house several cemeteries, and the sensitive relocation of some villages to allow entrance access to the trans-city connector.

Entrance 6 is among the first of the ten entrances to be completed, and forms the focus of this article. The journey commences on a vacant plaza between a sporting facility for youths and the mountain. A faceted spiral ramp conveys people up to an elevated pathway that connects to the main spinal bridge at its peak. Look was intrigued by the idea of “bringing the mountain into the front plaza,” drawing the angular geometries of the landform into the faceted architectural language of the perforated aluminium panels. A zig-zag bridge breaks away from the ramp and leads into the hilly forested terrain, affording spectacular views of the city below.

For the full story, pick up a copy of Cubes Indesign #84 at newsstands.

Photography by Zhou Yuedong (courtesy of LOOK Architects).


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