The Red Ribbon running through this Qinhuangdao park can be seen against the background of natural terrain and vegetation, spanning 500 meters (547 yards), integrating the functions of lighting, seating, environmental interpretation, and orientation. While preserving as much of the natural river corridor as possible, this project demonstrates how a minimal design solution can achieve a dramatic improvement to the landscape.
The park is located on the Tanghe River at the eastern urban fringe of Qinhuangdao. The following site conditions presented both opportunities and challenges for the design:
● Good ecological circumstances: The site was covered with diverse native vegetation, providing varied habitats for assorted species.
● Unkempt and deserted: Located at the edge of a beach city, the site was a garbage dump with a deserted shantytown and obsolete irrigation facilities such as ditches and water towers
● Potential safety and accessibility problems: Covered with shrubs and messy grasses, the site was virtually inaccessible and therefore unsafe for people to use.
● Functional demands: With encroaching urban sprawl, the site was used by the new communities for recreation, including fishing, swimming, and jogging.
● Development pressure: With the lower reaches of this river channeled, it seemed likely that the same was going to happen on this site. The natural river corridor would probably have been replaced with concrete embankments and ornamental flower beds.
The major design challenge was to preserve the natural habitats along the river while creating new opportunities for recreation and environmental education. The Red Ribbon was designed as a vivid element within a setting of green vegetation and blue water, curving with the terrain. It integrates a boardwalk, lighting, and seating. Made of fiberglass, it is lit from the inside, glowing red at night. It is 60 centimeters (24 inches) high, and it varies in width from 30 to 150 centimeters (11 inches to 59 inches). Crossings for small animals are built. Perforations were made on the ribbon’s top surface, creating a dotted pattern, in which lights and various grasses from the site grow.
Five pavilions in the shape of clouds are distributed along the ribbon. These provide protection from harsh sunlight, opportunities for social gatherings, visual focal points, and placement of environmental interpretation plaques. White, yellow, purple, and blue perennial flower gardens appear as patchwork on the formerly desolate fields.
The bright red of the ribbon lights up this densely vegetated site, linking the diverse natural vegetation and the four flower gardens. The ribbon acts as a structural device that reorganizes the formerly unkempt and inaccessible site. The place has increasingly become urbanized; this park attuned with the needs of the local residents, while maintaining its ecological processes and natural services intact.