A little over a decade ago, the High Line made the case for reimagining New York’s decommissioned railway tracks as a raised parkway. But why wait until a transit system is retired to unlock its higher potential? In Shenzhen, architecture studio Crossboundaries worked with the district government to rethink the roof of the southern terminal and depot building for the city’s Metro Line 2. The resulting design, dubbed Shenzhen Skypark, forms an elevated community hub that introduces both recreational space and professional sports facilities.
To allow multiple user groups to enjoy the roof simultaneously, the 1.2-kilometre-long space (which ranges in width from 50 to 70 metres) is subdivided into five zones. Two of these provide recreational facilities for neighbouring schools (specifically, the Shenzhen Bay School’s north and south campuses, as well as the Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School), a total of five tennis courts, six basketball courts, two five-a-side soccer fields and three running tracks. A central area carves out competition and training facilities for professional volleyball and tennis clubs, adding additional fields plus amenities like change rooms and spectator seating. Finally, the southernmost end is dedicated to a community park that features its own full-size soccer field and public green space.
Numerous access points — each one served by an elaborate network of crosswalks, elevators and staircases — allow visitors to reach their specific destinations without interfering with other ongoing activities. Up top, three main circulation paths weave around Skypark’s assortment of sports fields, shrinking and expanding in width at various points. Each path is distinguished by a different material: The pedestrian walkway is clad in stone pavement, the leisure trail in timber and the sports track with a rubber surface. To help with navigation, an intuitive wayfinding system places pylons at 100-metre increments, allowing runners to gauge their progress — and their distance from the park’s many entrances. Meanwhile, ample greenery delivers some welcome shade, helps with drainage and improves the views from nearby towers.
Tapping into the overlooked rooftop potential of urban infrastructure, Shenzhen Skypark effectively brings competition, leisure and educational facilities together into a hub of harmonious outdoor activity.
Team Binke Lenhardt and Dong Hao with Alan Chou, Kebin Tan, Ruo Fang, Yang Gao, David Eng, Ewan Xiao, Xudong Wang, Tracey Loontjens, Libny Pacheco, Dahyun Kim, Hongyi Hao, Chloris Yu and Aniruddha Mukherjee
Shenzhen Skypark effectively brings competition, leisure and educational facilities together into a hub of harmonious outdoor activity.