Design for Wellbeing: Reimagining Public Space

Wellbeing has been an increasing focus for architects for some time, and with the outbreak of the coronavirus, this has been drawn into a renewed interest in public space design. We look at some of the recently proposed projects that draw both together

Net City

Shenzhen, China

Architects: NBBJ

A masterplan designed for technology giant Tencent, this 2 million square metre project will house entertainment venues, residential areas, office buildings and a waterfont. However, what it will not provide space for is cars. Instead, all transit will be in the form of walking, cycling or using public transport, while access to the rest of the city will be through cycle lanes, subways and ferries. This is designed to the remove noise and pollution brought by motor vehicles, creating an environment that promotes health and wellness. The project also places significant focus on sustainability, including a network of sensors to track environmental performance, mangrove trees along the shoreline to combat flooding and photovoltaic panels.

Image courtesy of NBBJ

Park ‘n’ Play

Copenhagen, Denmark

Architects: JAJA Architects

The winner of the Danish Design Award 2020, Park ‘n’ Play has transformed the roof of a carpark in the Nordhavn district of Copenhagen into a space for sports activities and a playground. The project includes a refurbishment of the façade to provide direct, stepped access to the roof, with greenery providing an appealing finish that is designed to encourage visitors to make the climb. Above a mixture of highly structural play and exercise equipment provides an inviting space for physical activity, adding new purpose to the monolithic and previously monofunctional structure.

Image courtesy of Rasmus Hjortshøj

Not Your Car

New York City, USA

Architects: Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

A conceptual proposal for New York, Not Your Car (N.Y.C.) reimagines the streets of the metropolis without cars, in recognition of the changing lifestyles that the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted, and the need to improve air pollution and the environmental credentials of the city. This sees the previously wide streets narrowed and converted into cycle paths and public transport-only paths, with the significantly expanded pavement providing space for increased greenery, markets, telecoms facilities and more. In other parts of the city, the remaining vehicles are restricted to smaller numbers of lanes, with those reclaimed being transformed into footpaths.

Image courtesy of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

True Blue

Bergen, Norway

Architects: White Arkitekter

The winner of a competition to design a new beach park and sea bath, True Blue extends the existing Lungegårdsparken in Bergen. It is designed to increase the range of opportunities and ways to interact with the water, and includes an array of fixed and floating structures, including bathing jetties, bridges and islands for visitors to use. There will also be spaces for sports activities and events, with the park designed for year-round use. In addition, the project places a strong focus on sustainability, including a natural system for water purification and a variety of methods to increase underwater life and biodiversity.

Image courtesy of White Arkitekter

Ligovsky City

St Petersburg, Russia

Architects: KCAP, Orange Architects and A.Len Architectural Bureau

An adaptive re-use project, Ligovsky City is designed to transform the former Tovarno-Vitebskaya railway yard into a residential district that is deeply enriched with greenery throughout. The old railway structure forms a central part of the project, with the rails forming part of a green walkway running across the district. Restaurants, leisure facilities, service companies, on-street retail, schools and cafes are designed to sit alongside residential buildings, with a wide array of green spaces positioned throughout. These include spaces for specific activities, such as yoga, while private open spaces for residents have also been planned for.

Image courtesy of KCAP, Orange Architects and A.Len Architectural Bureau

Public Space