Gubei Gold Street is a breath of fresh air from the snarl of city traffic. A pedestrian mall carved out from three city blocks and flanked by 20-story high rise residential towers, Gubei Gold Street serves as the centerpiece to this mixed-use residential project designed by SWA Group.
Catering to a community of middle to upper-class expatriates, most of whom are from Korea and Japan, Gubei Gold Street has a much more cosmopolitan character than the average Shanghai housing development. Studded with foreign businesses, from German beer gardens to fancy boutique shops, there’s a sense of tranquility and cleanliness associated with the space, aided by the evergreen canopy of camphor trees.
The pedestrian promenade is split into three parts, from west to east: the restaurant zone, the community zone, and the retail zone. The promenade is bisected twice by two roads and bookended by SWA-Group designed parks.
Though Gubei Gold Street marks a departure from the bustling, loud and crowded spaces that are characteristic of Shanghai, this landscape architecture project still draws major influences from the Chinese landscape. Attention to detail through custom site furniture and stone-studded paving take precedence from classical Chinese gardens.
An amphitheater space was added to accommodate large groups for weekly activities, such as dance or tai chi; a large electronic-board even advertised free Salsa lessons on Sundays.
Gubei Gold Street is also commendable for helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Water features prominently in the project. A river-like water fountain starts on the west side of the promenade and snakes its way beneath foot bridges to a reflecting pool with interactive water jets on the east side. Unfortunately, since I visited in winter, the water fountains were turned off for the season, however, I did get a closer look at the beautiful inlaid glass mosaic at the bottom of the water channel.