Site and Context
Quarry Garden is located at the center of Shanghai Chen Mountain Botanical Garden, covering an area of 4.26 hectares (10.53 acres). Chen Mountain is isolated in the Garden and is nearly 70 meters (229.7 feet) high. Its appearance has been greatly destroyed and two east-west quarries are formed between the early 20th Century and the 1980s due to quarrying. One deep pool is left in the west quarry after the hill is explored and excavated into the ground. This project plans to build one delicate and characteristic horticultural garden by focusing on the west quarry.
This Hill was one famous tourist resort in this region historically with a good name of " Chen Mountain Eight Sights". This project involves the ecological restoration of abandoned quarry and the recovery of five classic sights of the " Chen Mountain Eight Sights" based on the site condition and traditional context.
Opportunities and Challenges
This project, as one of the core scenic spots of Chen Mountain Botanical Garden, offers opportunities for changing this severely-damaged quarry into one eco-friendly open public space. And the unique space form of the present quarry also provides possibility for designers to construct one unusual landscape.
Certainly, the landscape designers also face many challenges. One is to repair the severely degraded ecological environment. This site has little vegetation cover and lean species but severe rock weathering and water and soil loss. Another is to fully excavate and use the value of landscape left in the quarry. This site has been wholly abandoned with the Deep Pool fenced against people over the past twenty years. Therefore, reestablishing proper connection between quarry and people becomes the problem for designers to think about.
Quarry Garden has been divided into three parts based on sufficient site analysis: the Lake Area, the Platform Area and the Deep Pool. Different design strategies are adopted corresponding to different area conditions to renew the quarry landscape.
The Lake Area: reconstructing the surface configuration and enriching the ecological community
It is located in the west side of the garden where visitors firstly enter from the main entry. It used to be relatively even rock surface and be lifeless except for the thick metasequoia forest at its southeast edge. Designers reconstruct the landform by digging and land filling and form the new "Mirror Lake" and "Flower-seeing Platform". "Mirror Lake" forms another touring center balancing with the Deep Pool and the reflecting of the lake surface reduces the dull sense of the hill’s vertical plane; the south hill on which the "Flower-seeing Platform" is built not only isolates the interference outside the site, but also provides ideal place for flower planting and displaying.
The Platform Area: Improving spatial sequence and opening up sightseeing site
The Platform Area is situated between the terrace area and the hills, with 6 exits and entrances surrounding it as underground facilities. The exits and entrances are connected by three layers of set-back floors with retaining wall; the set-back floor is grown with a single variety of bushes. First, the designer utilizes the free stone wall and the rusty steel plate to reshape facade sequence with rhythmic changes; then, a variety of mountain-climbing routes are explored for people to reach the top of the Platform and to visit the "secret garden" of diverse plants. A water tower has been built inside the "secret garden" based on the existing facilities tunnels.
The Deep Pool: Creating dramatic route to connect east-west quarry
The deep pool has a water area of about 1 hectare (2.47 acres); both the water depth and the height difference between the water surface and the terrace area is between 20-30 m (65.6-98.4 feet).Due to its unique space form, this area is doomed to make the core zone of this project. Since the deep pool has been affected by the rampway for transporting stones, the rock wall on its south side is much more abundant in space level. Meanwhile, considering less serious rock weathering, the rock wall on the south side boasts of stable structure for visitors to access the bottom pool. The designer has created a sightseeing route composed of pourable steel barrel, freely-cambered steel trestle, artificial "the strip of sky" landscape and winding wood floating bridge. Through this route, the visitors will be able to experience the quarry from more angles and to enjoy dramatic space, which will further strengthen their understanding for the oriental cultures of landscape and mining industry. At the end of this route, the designer also cuts a 150 m (492 feet) tunnel rising for 25 m (82 feet), connecting east-west quarry.