Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, is a booming place. It has its charms, including beautiful rivers and lakes. Development is happening everywhere, including the Meixi Lake District to the west of town. Now NEXT architects have built the Lucky Knot, a beautiful new pedestrian bridge over the Dragon King Harbour River (and a highway) in the Meixi district.
According to the architect,
The bridge is a key project in developing the area’s public space, and was designed with recreational, ecological and tourist activities in mind. The bridge connects multiple levels at different heights (the river banks, the road, the higher-placed park as well as the interconnections between them). The final shape of the bridge is the result of -literally and metaphorically- knotting all these routes together.
“The shape of the Lucky Knot was inspired by the principle of the Mobius ring, as well as by the Chinese knotting art. In the ancient decorative Chinese folk art, the knot symbolises luck and prosperity,” says John van de Water, partner at NEXT architects Beijing. The bridge owes its imaginative appeal to the combining of tradition and modernity.
It also manages to mix a bit of the traditional Chinese Moon Bridge, with its steep stairs, with flatter, easier to manage sections (although it does not look totally accessible, which I thought all bridges in China had to be)
“The Lucky Knot is more than a bridge and a connection between two river banks. Its success lays in bringing cultures together, and in the fusion of history, technology, art, innovation, architecture and spectacle,” adds NEXT architects Beijing partner Jiang Xiaofei.
There is also an interesting lesson here in the power of a rendering, and of good photography. Look at the rendering that won the competition here, with a wide river full of big yachts and surrounded by green:
The reality is somewhat more prosaic.
From above it is even more extreme; the river looks like a drainage ditch.
But hey, compared to every other bridge in Changsha, it is pretty spectacular. And it demonstrates the power of a good rendering and a talented photographer, as well as a good architect who naturally wants to show his best side.
Changsha is an interesting city; it is where Mao started his career. I visited it twice as it is home of Broad Sustainable Buildings. It really needs decent public infrastructure; see more of it in related links below.