Red Ribbon in the Green Forest

Artist: Yu Kongjian, Ling Shihong, Ning Weijing
Location: Qinhuangdao City, China
Year of completion: 2006
Researcher: Jia Huimin

Red Ribbon in the Green Forest in China’s Tanghe Park exemplifies the creation of urban green space through use of an existing site with a minimum of design and intervention. The design integrates ecosystem restoration with urban green space, combining a pathway for a leisurely stroll with an environmental interpretation system using native specimen planting, lighting and other functions.

Tanghe Park is located in the western district of the famous coastal city of Qinhuangdao. It is situated along the east bank of the Tang River, with about 1km of shoreline and a total area of about 20 hectares. The area has rich natural resources, stable water levels, and clear water quality with dense vegetation, but there is severe erosion along the riverbank. As in many outlying districts of large cities, intense human activity has begun to threaten the integrity of the water supply; most of the original waterworks structures are now damaged, obsolete or abandoned. As a result of safety risks, accessibility to the area is poor.

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Based on the environmental conditions and in the context of the functional needs of the urban community, the first design priority at Tanghe Park was to protect the basic conditions of the water and vegetation. This meant strict protection of existing wetlands and strict protection of existing vegetation. Further measures called for the creation of biological berms in order to maintain the shape of the river and prevent its gradual erosion. The berms themselves were made from native species, both aquatic and wetland plants. Second, a continuous bicycle and pedestrian system was established. Bike paths and walking trails were created along the riverbank, connected with a road system making the area more accessible and secure. Third, an integrated seating, lighting and botanical viewing installation was created; called the Red Ribbon in the Green Forest, it weaves through the landscape along the forest line of the east riverbank.

Red Ribbon is more than 500 meters long, composed of a fiberglass reinforced hollow cube of varying width. The shape and dimensions of the ribbon change to reflect the terrain as it winds through the trees. It has five nodes corresponding to five ecological zones and includes explanatory signs and plant identifiers. Each node has one "cloud" where there is an enclosed seating area and cover, providing protection from both sun and rain. One of the zones features a planting activity, where native plant species including Pennisetym, Andropogon, Lard Mans, Phragmites Australis, Imperata and others can be distributed. Because only native plant species and indigenous resources are used there is minimal required grounds maintenance, consistent with low-carbon design and the park's aesthetic of balance.

At night the ribbon provides an enchanting spot for stargazing, the night sky reflected in its surface. Overall, the effect is of a designed landscape that conveys respect for the river and plant life, while suggesting the interface between city and nature, the man-made and the biological, history and modernity.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency