As Lewis Munford once said, The first Utopia is the city itself.
Qianhai of Shenzhen used to be a piece of “forgotten land”; however, as the “backbone” of the Pearl Delta, it connects Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, such a privileged geographic location heralds its inescapable fate to be reclaimed and developed. In a post-modern society where high density is used to trade for economic balance, Qianhai becomes another form of Manhattan. The box that represents capital is duplicated endlessly, and overlapped horizontally; the frontline of Qianhai is invading the ocean as the expansion of human desires.
Expansion towards the ocean is the way of city spreading. Toyko Bay 1960 was a Utopia attempt for Kenzō Tange to overcome “existing realities” including the rapid growth of population and housing demands in Tokyo, disorderly city structure, scarce land and jammed traffic after World War II and advance the chaotic city to an orderly (well-organized) ocean civilization. Tange considered the ocean as a new type of landform, blending the fundamental distinction between the land and the ocean through linear structures, a gigantic continuously intertwined and interlocked loop space restructured an orderly and open ocean city in modern times. Yet, the Tokyo Bay planning that perfectly combined the pragmatism and the idealism, in its essence, was an indisputable fact in an effort trying to expand the city in large scale leveraging the industrial technology.
As George Sand once stated, the truth doesn’t exist in a defaced reality.
Since 1990s, the land reclamation in Shenzhen Bay led to two main problems, i.e. pollution and sedimentation as result of reduced tidal flow capacity, weakened hydrodynamics, and a faster natural sedimentation compared to the self-healing capacity. With a precedent like Shenzhen Bay, the future water circulation in Qianhai is nothing but unoptimistic.
Future Forest Island represents MAD’s visionary resistance against the reality in the future. Similar to the Central Park in the heart of the New York City, the Forest Island rises from the sea as a huge contrast, forming an opposite view with the Qianhai Development Zone on the landside. To ensure the Forest Island free from the water pollution, a smooth water circulation is created by linking through the existing reclamation area in the west of Qianhai Bay, making this part of the reclaimed area the only connection and passage with the landside city. One could only access this piece of earth art after giving up the transportation and returning to the very primitive mobility.
The Forest Island is a public artistic space connected through pedestrian path networks. It is also a non-city, a non-Utopia deviant that confronts a certain type of duplicated reality. It is an escape from the modern civilization. Without reality here, it deals with the wind, rain, sea and mountains and all other natures in an informatized manner and offers a brand-new virtual wonderland. In other words, man-made means the nature here. As a communitarian neighborhood secluded from the economic development, it advocates open and free social rules and creative leisure and entertainment