Singapore-based LOOK Architects designed a first of its kind elevated steel pedestrian walkway system weaving through forested areas in China. Fuzhou Forest Walkway spans over 6.3 kilometres from end to end, threading through the full breadth of Jinniushan and covers about 19 kilometres along its winding path. A signature urban connector network that provides public accessibility to indigenous hinterland stretching north- east of Minjiang, Fudao signifies an awakened consciousness to improve lives of city dwellers by bringing nature within closer reach.
There are a total of 10 entrances leading into the walkway network, each celebrated as a bold intervention into the existing urban grain. For the entrance situated at the open plaza of existing Jinniushan indoor sports hall, a stately spiral ramp measuring 24 metres across its diameter is introduced, announcing the transition from flat urban plain to hilly forested terrain. At the northern tip, connectivity to Meifengshan Park has expanded the design brief to include master planning for the future commercial hub encapsulating approximately 30,000 square meters of gross floor area.
Conveniences such as rest shelters, viewing decks, observation towers and teahouses with washroom amenities are interspersed throughout the elevated walkways, laid at a gentle gradient not exceeding 1:16 for barrier- free accessibility. An intelligent walkway network equipped with WIFI connectivity, touch-screen information boards and visitor traffic monitors, Fudao has the potential to set a new national benchmark for eco-routes. Comprising 8 basic deck components that can be stitched together in various permutations, the walkway network is an all-terrain modular system with the capability of negotiating undulating topography. Efficient design allows for a long span of 14.4 metres between supporting columns, minimizing the construction footprint.
The use of steel grating for the walkway decks serves to bring natural light down to the ground plane, encouraging low-lying plants to thrive.