Al basile - red breath

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2. A challenging setting: Water level fluctuations, tree preservation and design with machines
The site inventory of this small former shipyard included an existing lake of fluctuating water levels, existing trees and vegetation, and the wreckages of docks, cranes, rails, water towers and other machinery. These factors challenged the design in three ways:
– Challenge 1: fluctuating water levels:. With the existing lake connected through the Qijiang River to the sea, water levels fluctuate up to meters daily. To meet this challenge, a network of bridges were constructed at various elevations and integrated with terraced planting beds so that native weeds from the salt march can be grown and visitors can feel the breath of the ocean.
– Challenge 2: Balance river width regulations for flood control while protecting old ficus trees along the riverbank. Regulations of the Water Management Bureau required the river corridor at the east side of the site to be expanded from 60 meters to 80 meters to manage water flow. This meant that a series old banyan trees were to be cut down in order to widen the river channel. Our approach was to dig a parallel ditch of 20 meters width on the other side of the trees, leaving them intact as an island of preservation.
– Challenge 3: Remnant rust docks and machinery – nothing as gigantic or unusual as a gas works or steel factory. These elements, if left intact because of a pure preservation or ecological restoration ethic, might actually be a distraction or nuisance for local residents. Three approaches are taken to artistically and ecologically dramatize the spirit of the site using these elements: preservation, modification of old forms and creation of new forms. New forms include a network of straight paths, a red box and a green box that dramatize the character of the site in an artistic way.

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