Design firm turns old airport runway into beautiful park in Shanghai

Back in 2011, the Longhua Airport in Shanghai was closed and left abandoned. Now, more than a decade later, architecture studio Sasaki has finished transforming the runway of the former airport into an expansive linear park.

The Xuhui riverfront area once hosted the airport, but hasn’t recently been redeveloped into a mixed-use district with offices and housing. To make use of the remaining runway, Sasaki covered it into a linear park that features paths for pedestrians and cyclists, lush gardens, and six rows of beautiful trees that run the length of the park. The park has been named the Xuhui Runway Park.

As an ode to the site’s former use as an airport runway, the main pedestrian path still has its original direction markings preserved. Meanwhile, other demolished pieces of the runway have been placed alongside the path.

One of the coolest features of the park is that it’s designed to collect runoff rainwater from the surrounding area through a collection basin built underneath a wetland at the south end of the park, with the water then flowing to the north end of the park and draining into a large rain garden. In addition, polluted stormwater from the surrounding streets is also stored within the park and is cleaned to allow it to be used for watering the gardens and for other water features such as fountains.

“Xuhui Runway Park is an innovative urban revitalization project that breathes new life into a unique piece of Shanghai’s history,” said Zhang, senior associate director of Sasaki‘s Shanghai office. “MastMaster-planned as a public street and linear park side-by-side, this project serves as a runway of modern life, offering a space of recreation for nearby communities as well as a respite from the high-density redevelopment around.”

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