The garden corridor of the canal is about 750 meters long and about 40 meters wide （including roads）, consisting of three parts: the water canal, the green park, and the road. The canal is about 5 meters wide and 2.2 meters in depth, and the green park along the canal is about 20 to 23 meters wide. Water in the canal is divided into three sections due to the crossings of Mincyuan Road and Minsheng Road. The green park is located on both sides of the canal with varying directions and widths, providing leisure amenities such as sidewalks, green planting, rest facilities and physical fitness facilities. The two-lane and single directional roads, with the canal in the center, are about 7.4 meters wide and with paid parking spaces. The residents from the local communities on both sides of the canal park had been using the canal for dog walking, strolling and resting. Although the original environment was not unfriendly, there were deficiencies and lot of rooms for improvement. For instance, some facilities were old and rusty, the circulation were limited due to the topography, and lack of accessibility to the water.
The Fantastical Forest
In order to have maximum walking space that would connect people from the surrounding alley ways to Lon-En Canal, we designed an elevated walkway, carefully laid out the foundation on site. This not only takes into consideration the tree roots and the micro-topographical changes of the site, but also separates the main circulation from the living space of plants to further minimize ecological disturbance. On this seemingly floating elevated platform, we designed a soft and flat artificial turf to ensure the space is universally accessible and allows for children to play safely.
Because the trees pass through the elevated platform, people can pass through the forest and get very close to the trees. At night, lights glow low in the darkness from the ground as if coming out of the forest, and it both creates a fantastical scene as well as serves as a directional guide.
Leaving a Blank Canvas
The north-south direction of Lon-En Canal area used to be disrupted by the dense forest and canal, therefore we started by restoring connectivity with the surrounding alleys and bring people back to the area, deliberately preserving a large, empty field that is rare in the city.
In addition to improving its relationship with the surrounding walking spaces, the depth of the canal is the most precious asset of the site. Through creating opportunities of continuously intertwining the walkways with the river, the depth of the scene is given the opportunity to be seen and taking people to another height to view the water, and furthermore, leaving the empty space that allows users to define and act on their own.
A large and complete walking space is a scale that, we feel, is very much needed in the city of Hsinchu. The scale of people with baby strollers or wheelchairs and three to five people walking side by side are very different from other pedestrian-friendly cities, such as Yilan City. Lack of comfortable space for walking and running has been a perennial issue in Hsinchu City.