Kaohsiung City commissioned Mecanoo as a masterplan consultant to review the urban vision for West Kaohsiung, where the railway track used to be. “The Underground Railway Project” is a great opportunity for Kaohsiung to update the existing urban fabric with a new public transportation system that will enhance the cityscape and improve people’s lives.
Guided by the four major themes of “diversified ecological environment”, “healthy leisure activities”, “clean mobility”, and “robust hydrological system”, Mecanoo identifies the specific characteristics of each area for a context integrated solution.
The project scope goes beyond design concept and development strategy. Working closely with the Kaohsiung City Government, Mecanoo has translated the results into feasible urban design guidelines which will be used as basis for municipal development. Hamasen was initially a harbour during the Japanese occupation period and then became the first urban development of Kaohsiung. The rich history of the dock settlement, the emerging Pier-2 Art Centre, the Hamasen Railway Cultural Park, and the Chai Mountain Hiking Trail attract a large number of tourists.
Mecanoo’s urban design proposal addresses the city’s current issues such as the deficient urban fabric and the local communities status in the context of tourism development. The project will strengthen regional identity by restoring the coastal urban character that has gradually disappeared in the process of unplanned city growth.
A comprehensive review of the public transportation system will be conducted to facilitate access and parking for the sightseeing route, returning Hamasen’s vibrant, small-scale streets to pedestrians and bicycles. Existing railway parks will extend along the quayside. Green belts and recreational activities are no longer limited to land and will expand further to the sea.
The historic urban axis leads to the waterfront passing through a former square. Here, an old temple offers spiritual guidance and protects seafaring voyages. Local beliefs, history, culture, and tourism come together to convey the unique qualities of Hamasen. Public cultural buildings are planned along the canal, as landmarks for Kaohsiung Harbour. The buildings will mark the endpoints of the urban axis and strengthen Kaohsiung’s position as a maritime city.