WEIMIN CANAL COMPETITION
Location: Suqian, China
From the beginning of time, canals (rivers and lakes) were the life-strings of this community. The first etchings of human settlement, canals were the wellspring of life – of water for growing food -- of work and meaning for families, villages, a people. Now they have become drainage ditches. The ancient flow has been reversed from life giving to waste receiving. Our proposal is to restore the canal’s role as a life-string, with life-giving qualities of water and growth that flow outward to touch the people who live and work along it, and in turn all of Suqian.
Using this metaphor, the Urban Forest becomes a living matrix for defining places along the canal that will sustain people and help them to grow. In the 21st century, sustenance and growth still mean food, but growth also requires knowledge, health, creative discovery, industry, community, and joy. These are the kinds of places and experiences one should find in the Urban Forest along the canal. We see the Urban Forest as melody composed of a matrix of chord extending along the length of the canal, but also laterally to form places that bring life and freshness into adjacent communities.
Like a melody, each chord defines a place of different character and purpose related to its surroundings: some quiet and reflective, others filled with noisy kids and celebration – all linked together by the canal. Inspired by the 5 music elements from Chinese traditional music theory, we proposed 5 nodes along the river to created places for the people of Suqian.