Dutch architecture practice Mecanoo has completed the redesign of The 1.7km long former railway line crossing downtown Taichung city in Taiwan. The defunct railway line was an important catalyst for the development of the old city and its historical value has played an important role in the revitalisation of the urban realm on which it sits.
THE CONFLUENCE OF SUSTAINABLE URBAN LIFE, HISTORY AND CULTURE
Although in the past, the rail line functioned as a way of connecting people, the disused railway acts more as a barrier due to its challenging location on the dyke, which impedes circulation from one side of the tracks to the other. The design reuses the rail line to connect the different parts of the city in a sustainable way by creating a green corridor for biodiversity and including bike/pedestrian lanes to better cater for the needs of the community. Within this linear site, the sustainable development covers a wide range of planning and design factors including urban regeneration, public participation, historic preservation, green and water resources, and circulation routes for pedestrians and bikes. With Mecanoo’s extensive urban planning experience, the design shapes a people-oriented green corridor, complementing the Green River’s waterfront.
To maintain the area’s strong historical character and set a coherent, recognisable theme for the project, the new circulation system layout relies on the track pattern of the junction railway. Based on the visual language of the railway infrastructure, the routes branch out to integrate the existing and future planned functions.
A LINEAR PARK IN THE CITY CENTRE
Mecanoo team defined the green corridor as a continuous public park in the centre of the city, which will support the conservation and development of the area’s flora and fauna, while improving the connections for pedestrians and bike users in Taichung centre. The project integrates existing and newly added functions to the area into a coherent linear park.
The green corridor aims to become a destination and invite users to explore and enjoy the green qualities of the park that features a herb garden, street fitness, tribune, playground, viewpoint and waterpark. Its urban location makes it an ideal place for leisure and recreational activities. The park is designed to optimise the use of the area for the local and wider Taichung community, while promoting a more coherent city infrastructure.
Other notable examples of old railway lines that have been realigned to become part of evolving urbanscapes in cities around the world include the New York High Line and the upcoming Camden High Line in London. In Singapore, too, former railway lines that connected the city-state with the neighbouring Malaysia, have been converted into green corridors that provide residents with easy accessibility to surrounding nature parks.
See the full image gallery here:
Design team: Mecanoo and local landscape firm S.D Atelier, ARIA architect & planners
Client: Taichung city government, Taichung, Taiwan
Photography: Ethan Lee
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